Updated: Dec 23, 2022
Remember the South African stranger I was talking about? This is the 2nd dish that she name-dropped. I went and did some research; there're actually lots of variations to this dish. Some cooked it with ground beef or ground lamb, some even added some raisins or dried fruits.
I decided to make this vegetarian with lentils and mushrooms. This is of cos, not the traditional authentic Bobotie (pronounced as ba-boor-tea). My version might be slower and longer to make, but quite frankly, I am very satisfied with the results. Even my kids said that this is yummilicious (the 3 of us finished the entire skillet that evening).
You can use any ground meat you desired and add some raisins, sultanas or dried fruits. The skillet is your canvas and you are the artist.
Mixed Lentils, 250g
Baking Soda, Pinch
Green Bell Pepper Deseeded Wedged, 1
Unsalted Butter, 10g
Unbleached All Purpose Flour, 10g
Madras Masala Homemade, 2 TBSP
Tamarind Paste, 1 TBSP
Sandwich White Bread, 2 Slices
Whole Milk, 300g + More
Unsalted Butter, 2 TBSP + 2 TBSP
Red Onions Thinly Sliced, 2
Sea Salt, Pinch
Black Pepper, Pinch
Swiss Brown Mushrooms Finely Diced, 150g
Shiitake Mushrooms Finely Diced, 150g
Garlic Finely Minced, 3 Cloves
Chili Jam Homemade or any Fruity Chutney, 2 Heaped TBSP
Bay Leaves, 5 or More
Coriander Coarsely Chopped, A Handful
Heavy Sauce Pot
10" Cast Iron Skillet / Pan
Please visit my "How To Make Madras Masala" page for the recipe.
Please visit my "Welsh Rarebit & Buck Rarebit" page for the chili jam recipe.
Soak lentils in a large bowl.
Add water to submerge, about 1" above the lentils.
Cover and set aside overnight.
The next day, drain the lentils and discard any liquid.
Wash the lentils under running water and add to the stock.
Transfer the lentils to a pot.
Add some water to about 2" above the lentils.
Sprinkle some baking soda and stir to combine well.
Bring it up to a simmer.
Continue cooking until the lentils can be mashed easily with your fingers, about 30 to 40 mins.
While the lentils are cooking, broil the bell pepper in the oven until charred.
Remove from the oven, cover and set aside to steam.
Prepare the madras paste.
In another pot over medium heat, whisk butter and flour until well combined.
Continue whisking until the color turns to a brownish color.
Add in the madras masala.
Whisk until well combined and aromatic.
Followed by the tamarind paste.
Add a ladle of that lentil cooking liquid into the roux.
Deglaze and whisk until it comes together into a paste.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare the bobotie.
The lentils should be softened and can be easily mashed by fingers.
Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
*You can freeze the stock for future usage.*
By now the bell pepper should be cooled enuff to handle; remove the charred skin, coarsely dice and set aside until ready to use.
Soak the bread with some milk and set it aside.
Melt 2 TBSP of butter in a skillet over medium heat.
Once the butter has melted, add in the onions.
Season with salt and pepper.
Saute until lightly caramelized.
Add in the mushrooms and saute until well combined.
Add in 2 TBSP of butter and continue cooking until the mushrooms are lightly caramelized.
Add in garlic, roasted pepper and lentils.
Stir to combine well.
Remove the bread from the milk and add to the mixture.
Mash and stir to combine well.
You should get a thick consistency.
Add in the madras paste, chili jam and 2 bay leaves.
Stir until well combined.
Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Lastly, stir in the coriander.
Remove from heat.
Press and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
Preheat the oven to 180 degree celsius or 350 fahrenheit.
You should have some leftover milk from the bread.
Weigh and add in more milk to make it a total of 300g.
Whisk in 2 eggs until well combined.
Pour it over the lentil mixture.
Final seasoning with salt and pepper.
Decorate with some bay leaves.
Carefully wack into the oven and bake for 35 to 40 mins or until the custard is set with some browning.
Remove from the oven.
South African cuisine is so underrated...