I first came across babotie when I lived in New Zealand. We lived in an odd backwater called Wanganui and curiously most of our friends were either Welsh, Serb-Croat or South African. I think all the New Zealanders had left for Europe! Any road, one of our good S.A. friends, Noleen, used to dish this up now and then and we loved it. I have never tried making it before last night but I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised that it tasted almost as I remembered it…almost. It is one of those dishes like chilli or spag bol that everyone seems to have their own version of…it often comes with a sort of egg and buttermilk topping, finished off on the oven. I cooked mine all on the top in a sauté pan. The word comes from an Indonesian dish called bobotok. Look, the point is, it is a great dish worth giving a go if you never have.
And as ever…tinker as you wish!
A knob of butter
Splash of olive oil
2 red onions chopped
2 crushed garlic cloves
500 gm minced lamb
2 carrots peeled and grated
2 tsps of curry powder
1 tsp of ground coriander
3 tsps of ground ginger
1 tsp each of thyme, rosemary and oregano
I tsp of turmeric
Tsp of cinnamon
Tsp of sugar
1 red chilli deseeded and chopped
Salt and pepper
10 gm of chopped almonds
2 slices of crusty white bread, soaked in water then drained and squeezed dry – this is the fun part!
15 ml of red wine vinegar
Heat the butter and oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, fry the onions and garlic in it til soft. Then add the minced lamb. Stir well and fry til coloured, then stir in the carrot, spices, herbs, sugar and chilli. After another 5 minutes add the almonds and a good grind of salt and pepper. Mix well to marry the flavours. Then stir in the bread and wine vinegar. Mix very well and pop a lid on for about 30 minutes whilst it cooks on a low to medium heat. Take lid off then and stir well, if it is catching on the bottom, add a knob more of butter. Check the seasoning.
You could use more curry powder if you like or more chilli – whatever rocks your babotie!
I served it on a decent chilli naan bread – or you could serve it with rice. If you can get hold of it, Mrs Ball’s chutney goes well with it. Frankly, every kitchen should have a bottle of Mrs Ball’s chutney!