Have you ever spoken to someone from another country, trying to explain the multitude of influences that make up what we know as ‘South African’ food? It’s like a full on history lesson!
I had the opportunity this week to chat to the producer of CNN’s Culinary Journeys show while she was in Cape Town filming a segment for the series with Reuben Riffel (to be aired in October), and she was really blown away by how many different aspects there are to our cuisine and what makes it special. It got me thinking about bobotie – arguably one of our most famous dishes (it’s even been featured on Epicurious!).
Let’s be honest – one of the things that many people find a bit odd is the meat and custard combo… that eggy layer that’s baked on top. And while there are countless ‘dos and don’ts ’ of this iconic dish, I think we can all agree that it’s fusion food in the truest sense of the word.
The Cape Malays (who originated from Indonesian slaves brought to South Africa by Dutch traders in the 17th century), knew a thing or two about food. They took the Dutch’s (bland) meat dish and infused exotic spices into it like curry powder and turmeric, as well as sweet dried fruit (yes – those raisins you turn your nose up at!).
While the original original bobotie recipe might be archived in a dusty old tome at the Iziko meuseum, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to bring you fun and modern interpretations on the old classic - while still using the essential flavour profile.
Try your hand at one of these new-age bobotie recipes...
1. Bobotie tarts
2. Babotie phyllo parcels with apple ring chutney
3. Bobotie meatloaf with banana salsa
4. Roast butternut and lentil bobotie (vegetarian)
5. Skinny bobotie (the dieter's version)
Do you have an interesting way of making bobotie at home? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter @Food24 with the hashtag #MyHeritage.