A couple weeks ago I stopped by Henni’s Kitchen and Bar in White Salmon, Washington to talk to Christiaan about his classic South African dish, Bobotie. Bobotie is a sweet, savory dish that, as Christiaan explained, is a constant on tables in his country of origin. The original bobotie recipes came to South Africa from Malaysia, and it’s unique blend of flavor and ingredients are testament of that. Christiaan’s version is served as a small plate, though he said that it’s traditionally made as a large casserole with a custardy egg topping poured over it and lemon leaves covering the top before baking. It’s usually served with a variety of sides like cumin rice with raisins, fresh banana, coconut, and chopped onion and tomato. The Henni’s version is pared down and served with a bit of rice. I brought some home from my afternoon in the Henni’s kitchen and my kids ate all of it – I hardly got a bite!
Bobotie is rich with the flavors of spices like garam masala, ginger, banana, garlic, apples and spices. All of the ingredients compliment the ground beer in an unexpected way as they are not flavors we would typically combine together here in the U.S. All of the cooked meat and fruit is placed in a dish, topped with a bit of egg and heated through. Then it’s dolloped with a bit of rice and served.
One of the things I love about Henni’s is that there are such wonderfully different things on the menu, a variation from the norm. This beef curry with egg custard and rice is a small dish that’s full of unique flavors and South African tradition.