June 10, 2010

6/11: South Africa v Mexico, Uruguay v France

Known as the "rainbow nation," South African cuisine incorporates the cultures of indigenous peoples, India, Britain, Malaysia, and various other former Dutch and Portuguese colonies through the East Indies. The most widely known style of South African cooking is "Cape Dutch," a remnant of the prominence of the Dutch East India Company that brought the flavors of Bengal, Java and Malysia in the form of curries, sambals and allspice to the African continent.
While there are many intricate South African dishes that would intimidate any average American cook, preperations of pigs head come to mind, we've decided to include one of the best loved but most broadly palatable national dishes, bobotie: baked spiced meat and egg.
Our menu serves bobotie in the traditional manner, with a side of rice. However, we're spicing things up by preparing a Mexican rice instead of the plain yellow rice and placing the bobotie in fresh tortillas for an extra Mexican touch.
To begin our multi-continent meal, we've chosen a cocktail that marries the flavors of South Africa and Mexico in one easy recipe that only a Nazi wouldn't love.
For the finish, we've blended two of the most widely known flavors of France and Uruguay easily into a simple, single dessert.
Buen provecho y bon appétit!

Afrikaan Margaritas 
1 1/2 oz reposado tequila 
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 oz simple syrup
Ginger beer

Shake tequila, lemon juice and simple syrup with ice and pour into ice filled glasses about half way, then top with ginger beer. 
Known as gemmerbier in Afrikaans, ginger beer is fairly easy to make at home with some patience or you can find it in specialty food stores. South African ginger beer is stronger than most American brands so we recommend their popular import, Stoney. We'll be making ours at home with some ginger syrup and my home carbonator.

1 medium yellow onion, chopped finely
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 T curry powder
1 T Spanish paprika (not traditional but we threw it in at the end for added flavor)
1 lb ground beef or lamb (we're using lamb)
1/4 C slivered almonds, toasted
2 slices bread, crusts removed
1 C milk
1 T mango chutney or apricot preserves
1/4 C raisins or dried apricots
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 eggs
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 bay leaves

Oven: 325F

Sauté onions and ginger in oil until golden, season with salt & pepper. Add turmeric and curry powder and simmer ~1 min until fragrant. Add the meat and cook until nicely browned, then stir in the almonds and cook for ~2 min.
While the onion mixture is cooking, tear the bread into medium-sized pieces and cover with 1/4 C milk and a pinch of salt. Once the milk is absorbed add it to the meat and cook for a few minutes more. Stir in the chutney and lemon juice. Spoon into a shallow baking dish.
Whisk eggs, nutmeg, zest and remaining milk, then pour over meat. Press bay leaves into dish and bake until center is set, ~35 min. Let stand for ~15 min.

Arroz a la Mexicana
1 C white rice
1 C chicken broth diluted with 1 C water
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 C chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch Mexican chile powder (I use homemade New Mexican powder from my family farm)
Handful of cilantro

Brown the rice in a saucepan of hot oil, then add the remaining ingredients to the pan, breaking up the chunks of tomato. Cover the rice mixture and allow to cook for ~15 min. Once the rice has absorbed the moisture and is nice and fluffy, add your desired chile powder to taste. Serve with chopped cilantro.

Dulce de Leche Crème Brûlée
2 C cream
3 T Dulce de leche
1/2 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks

Oven: 325°F

Place six ramekins in a water bath. Whisk eggs and sugar until pale, then slowly pour the hot cream into the yolks, whisking thoroughly. Pour custards into ramekins and bake ~35 min. until set. Chill at least 3 hours before serving.
To serve, sprinkle ~2 tsp sugar evenly over each custard and heat with a kitchen torch until a burnt curst forms atop each custard.
*Note: Great brands of Dulce de Leche abound and now, after Central Market's Argentina festival, us Houstonians don't have to look hard to find them. If you don't have access to dulce de leche, its simple and easy to make your own by boiling a can of condensed milk in a saucepan for a few hours (make sure to remove the label first!). 

Prefer to eat out instead? Our Houston Dining Guide tells you where and why.


  1. Great choice of recipes - babotie is yummy AND easy to make! Also good for those partially-made 'n frozen things to keep handy for rushed nights. Great served with my childhood fav, South African Mrs Ball's chutney - find at World Market.

  2. Forgot to mention - the raisins add a critical fruitiness to the flavor. You might try mincing them so they're not discernible as chunks; could substitute minced dried apricots or add more chutney but it will effect final outcome.

  3. Thanks for the comment! I like the dried Apricots idea and will try subbing that for the raisins!

  4. We'll be posting pics of these foods when we make them after the games tomorrow!

  5. I will try this recipe...it seems delicious...