On a recent trip to the Walt Disney World Resort, we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. In Africa, Boma means “an open natural space that provides safety and shelter in the bush.” At the Walt Disney World Resort, Boma, to a lot of guests, means wonderful cuisine chock full of exotic flavors. If you are familiar with Boma, you know it is one of the best eateries on the property, whether you are there for breakfast or dinner.
There are so many African-inspired dishes to choose from at Boma, but the one that struck my fancy this visit was the Bobotie. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed Bobotie, the last time being at Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom, and I had forgotten how unique and delicious it truly is bursting with exotic flavors.
Bobotie is one of the signature dishes at both Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Similar to an English Cottage or Shepherd’s pie, Bobotie is a flavorful African casserole of curried meat but rather than a heavy potato topping, it has a lighter egg-based, custard-like topping. Bobotie has been hailed as the national dish of South Africa, originating within the Cape-Malay community of people, and boasts a flavor explosion of sweetness and mild spice that is easy to make at home.
Here’s what you will need:
For the meat filling:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup minced carrots
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 pounds ground beef or lamb (can substitute ground turkey)
- 3 slices white bread, crumbled into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup seedless raisins
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 325º.
- Heat oil and cook onions, carrots and garlic in a large pan over medium-high heat, cooking until caramelized, around 5 minutes. Once caramelized, reduce heat to medium and add cinnamon, ground coriander and curry powder. Stirring well to coat the onions.
- Using the rice wine vinegar, and simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add ground lamb or beef, cook breaking the meat into smaller pieces. Continue cooking until meat is done, spooning out the excess grease, leaving about 1 tablespoon. (Keep in mind that the curry powder will change the color of the meat.)
- Pour the meat mixture into a casserole dish and let cool slightly.
- Add crumbled bread and 1 cup of cream, stirring to mix well. Stir in sugar and blend. Stir in raisins and almonds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, remaining 1/2 cup of cream, and milk. Pour the custard mixture over the meat mixture to form the topping. DO NOT MIX.
- Bake 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
Bobotie is done when the topping is golden brown and the temperature at the center of the dish has reached 165º. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting. This will help maintain the shape of the Bobotie when slicing.
A good meal in South Africa is known as a “lekka chow.” Serve Bobotie with you favorite vegetable and a bold-flavored South African Pinotage consisting of spicy notes of tobacco and fruity undertones for a “lekka chow” and a taste of Disney at your family’s table.