Alexandra is a self confessed food-a-holic from North Yorkshire. A life-long animal lover, she has ambitions to one day spread this passion with a mobile vegan food van!
Babotie (pronounced Buh-Bu-Tea), is a traditional South African dish that comprises a spicy mince base with a baked egg and cream topping (rather reminiscent of the Greek classic Moussaka). It has a complex flavour due to the addition of fruit flavours in the form of chutneys and dried fruit, usually sultanas or apricots.
Here is my vegan-friendly version that I created by swapping the meat for soy-based mince, and the egg and cream mix for tofu. It works really well and is a warming and comforting dish, ideal for this time of the year!
I have omitted the sultanas as my partner hates them – but feel free to add any dried fruit that takes your fancy.
– Roughly 450g of vegan mince (I used Tesco’s own brand)
– 1 large white onion
– 4 cloves of garlic (use more if you like!)
– 1 tbsp madras curry powder
– 1 tsp turmeric
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– 2 tbsp tomato purée
– 1 tbsp mixed herbs
– 1 tbsp soy sauce
– 1 tbsp vegan Worcester sauce (I used Heinz)
– 1 tbsp lemon Juice
– 1 or 2 tbsp mango chutney (you can use other fruit chutneys if preferred, or if you dislike fruit in savoury dishes then leave out completely – the dish will still be delicious)
– 3 bay leaves
– Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
– 1 or 2 packs of firm Tofu (I used 2 as I like a thick topping layer)
– 3 tbsp vegan milk (I used soy) or Soy/Oat single cream
– 1 tsp Kala Namak (black salt)
– 1⁄2 tsp turmeric
– 3 bay leaves
– Freshly ground black pepper
1. Sauté the onions until soft.
2. Add the mince and garlic and cook for around 2 minutes.
3. Add purée and cook for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add all of the spices and cook for roughly a minute until fragrant.
5. Add the lemon juice, Worcester, chutney, soy sauce, mixed herbs, black pepper and splash of water. Taste and adjust as needed – I added chilli flakes at this point for extra kick and some extra lemon juice.
6. Cook for a few minutes until the mixture becomes fairly dry in consistency.
7. When happy with the mince, remove the bay leaves and place into an oven proof dish and prepare topping.
8. Whizz up the tofu in a processor with the kala kamak, turmeric and some black pepper – do not be alarmed by it’s eggy whiff – It tastes great!
9. Add a splash of vegan milk. Not too much, you don’t want it to be runny. I added around 3 tbsp.
10. Pour over the mince and add the bay leaves.
11. Bake at around 200 degrees for approx. 30 minutes until hot all the way through.
Traditionally serve with rice (or whatever takes your fancy!)