Bobotie is a kind of fruity, herby meatloaf with a curried custard topping, of Cape Malay origin. Sounds odd but tastes great! All southern Africans have their own recipe for this; ours is a classical recipe but with a heap of local advice thrown in.
a thumbnail-sized piece of tamarind pod
285ml/½ pint good-quality red wine
3kg/6½lb best beef mince (for best results, get good rump steak and mince it yourself)
250g/9oz blanched almonds
24 black peppercorns, crushed
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 hot chillies, finely chopped
a few sprigs of marjoram, leaves only
20 coriander seeds, crushed
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
one lemon, grated zest only
handful of sultanas
285ml/½ pint double cream
125gm/4oz unsalted butter, softened
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 bay leaves
cumin seeds, for sprinkling
butter, for greasing
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Soak the tamarind pod in the wine to allow it to soften and dissolve slightly.
Place the beef into a clean bowl along with the following ten ingredients from the ingredients list. Knead the meat and spices together thoroughly - don't be shy, get stuck in.
Add the tamarind and red wine mixture, then add the cream, 125g/4oz butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roll the bay leaves up and 'plant' them like seedlings in the meatloaf.
Butter the sides and bottom of an earthenware pot large enough to hold the meat with plenty of room to spare. Sprinkle the inside with the cumin seeds. Place the meatloaf into the preheated oven for about one hour, until slightly risen and cooked through.
For the custard topping, whisk together the milk and the eggs. Add the curry powder, salt to taste and whisk again.
Remove the meatloaf from the oven and carefully pour the custard mixture over the top. Return it to the oven and bake until the custard topping has set and cooked to a golden brown colour. You can finish it off with a blowtorch if it looks a bit anaemic. Finish with a flourish of freshly grated nutmeg.
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