Vegetarian Bobotie

Vegetarian Bobotie

Ingredients

Serves: 2

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 180g vege-mince
  • 1 slice bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbs medium hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 ½ tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tbs malt vinegar
  • 2 tbs mango chutney
  • splash Worcestershire sauce
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp oregano

This is my version of the national South African dish, most notably substituting vegetarian mince for the traditional beef mince and omitting any sweet fruit fillings such as allspice berries, sultanas and apricots. I find that the bread, sugar and mango chutney add plenty of sweetness to complement the curried spices on their own and personally prefer this meal's texture without these extras.

Regarding vegetarian soya mince, I would definitely recommend "Realeat Vegemince" if you are able to find it, but Sainsburys and Tescos own brand meat-free mince products are perfectly good too.  I would just tend to avoid Quorn mince altogether as it is much more bland and has a comparatively unpleasant texture.

This dish has a wonderful combination of flavours and is very satisfying all year round, if you are looking to try cooking something a little different then look no further.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until translucent.
  3. Crush the garlic clove into the pan and continue to fry for a short while before adding in the vege-mince.
  4. Pour half the milk into a bowl and soak the bread. Squeeze any excess milk out of the slice back into the bowl and then roughly pull apart the bread before adding it into the pan.
  5. Turn down the heat to a simmer and then add the curry powder, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, sugar, salt, malt vinegar, mango chutney, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a decent grind of black pepper before giving everything a good stir. You may find that the consistency of the mixture is especially dry at this point, so add a tiny amount of boiling water as you stir but be careful not to overdo it.
  6. Transfer the mixture into a greased oven dish and press it down evenly using the back of a spoon*. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for around 35 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, beat the eggs in a bowl, add in the milk and then hand whisk the mixture together until you have an even consistency. Add in the coriander and oregano**.
  8. Once the 35 minutes is up, evenly pour the egg mixture over the bobotie and bake for another 25 minutes or until the topping turns a nice golden brown.
  9. Serve with steamed rice and extra chutney.

* The mixture could be put into the fridge at this point to be baked at a later time.

** A good tip to ensure the egg mixture sets well is to heat it in a pan over a gentle heat 10 minutes prior to pouring it over the bobotie, remembering to stir it regularly. You can also fold in a little cornflour to help it thicken.

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