Bobotie filo parcels are my interpretation of a South African classic with a few twists and turns for a modern update. Some might say, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, although a gentle tweak with is completely acceptable. Turmeric stained filo parcels wrapped around spicy curried mince with orange soaked sultanas and toasted almonds. It’s bold and gutsy with vamped-up flavours and scrumptious textural contrasts.
Bobotie was introduced to South Africa by colonists from the Dutch East India Company with the first recorded recipe dating back to 1609. It was embraced and perfected by the Cape Malay community who added their unique blend of earthy spices, lemon zest and curry powder. Originally pork or mutton was used although modern versions are made predominantly with minced beef or lamb. Most bobotie recipe include a handful of raisins for sweetness and I think it’s absolutely essential for a touch of sweetness. Millk-soaked bread helps to keep the meat moist and light. Baked with an egg topping and adorned with leafy bays, Bobotie is a legendary in these parts and a proudly South African favourite.
Often served with sliced bananas, desiccated coconut and a dollop of Mrs Ball’s apricot chutney on the side, this is the way I remember bobotie growing up. For a sweet and cooling finish to these bobotie filo parcels, I’d suggest this creamy no-churn cinnamon milk tart ice cream with gingerbread crumble. It’s local food heroes with a modern and delicious twist!
Bobotie filo parcels with apple ring chutney
- Bobotie filo parcels with apple ring chutney
- 2 slices white bread, crusts removed and soaked in 200ml milk
- 2 tablespoons golden sultanas
- juice of half an orange
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- a knob of butter
- 1 large brown onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 carrot, finely diced or grated
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 2 1/2 teaspoons medium strength curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- zest of 1 lemon and juice of half
- 500g free-range lean beef mince
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon Mrs Ball’s chutney
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons almond nibs
- 6 sheets filo pastry
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- egg wash (1 egg whisked with 2 tablespoons water)
- sesame seeds, for finishing
- Preheat the oven to 180º C. Place the sultanas in a small bowl, cover with the orange juice and set aside. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan. Sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, carrot and ginger. Cook for a further 4 minutes. Add all the spices and toast for a minute, stirring all the while to prevent the spices from burning and becoming bitter. Add a drop more oil and mix in the mince. Brown the meat until well coloured and just starting to catch on the bottom of the pan. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Squeeze out the excess milk from the soaked bread and add to the pan, together with the drained sultanas, cinnamon, chutney, chicken stock and almond nibs. Cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes until the carrots are soft and the meat is cooked through.
- Cut the filo pastry into 12 squares of equal size. Brush six of the pastry layers with melted butter and place the other six filo sheets on top. Divide the meat equally between the filo stacks. Shape the meat into rounds and gather the pastry together at the centre to form a parcel. Press firmly at the base of the gather to secure the filo in place. Brush with egg wash and scatter over some sesame seeds. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and crisp. Serve with pan fried apple rings and a spicy peach chutney.