Boeber is a South African pudding originally introduced to the country by the Cape Malays. The Cape Malay’s ancestors used to make a very similar dish before coming to SA. Another Afrikaans dessert that is very similar to Boeber is Melkkos. It’s important to note that Boeber and Melkkos are not the same. Boeber is an egg-free pudding that is not baked in the oven. Various spice shops, supermarkets, and corner cafes, especially in the Cape, sell Boeber mix. For many South Africans, Boeber is comfort food and the type of pudding that’s shared among families and friends.
Boeber is served in the form of a pudding or dessert as a drink or in a bowl. Its delicious taste may make you think that many complex steps and ingredients go into Boeber, but that’s just not true. The ingredients and steps involved in whipping up the pudding are absolutely simple. . It is essentially a sweet milk-based drink made with sago, sweetened condensed milk, vermicelli, browned sugar, cardamom, rose water, almond flakes, and cinnamon.
The best Cape Malay Boeber recipe
If you want to know how to make a thick and creamy Boeber pudding the South African way, you have come to just the right place. We’re big fans of Boeber and we have tried our hand at several recipes. Of course, we have settled on a few favourites. Below we share our best Boeber recipe that is already tried, tested, and deeply loved.
What you need:
- 50 g of butter
- 2 cups of vermicelli
- 1/3 cup of sago pearls
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 5 green cardamom pods (you can smash them)
- 2 l of milk
- 1 can of condensed milk
- 125 ml of water
- 125 ml of almond flakes (toasted)
What to do:
- First things first, you need to ensure that the sago pearls are properly soaked before you get started. To do this, rinse the sago pearls and place them in a bowl of water. Leave the sago to soak for approximately 20 minutes.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter on low heat. Slowly add the vermicelli as the butter melts. Stir it in well to ensure everything is well combined.
- Add the cardamom pods and the cinnamon to the saucepan and allow to fry in the melted butter. Light frying releases the oils and will create an intensified flavour.
- Stir the vermicelli slowly, allowing the butter to brown in the meantime. Keep a close eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn. The browning process shouldn’t take longer than around 5 minutes, so keep stirring until you notice the colour change.
- When the butter is browned, and the vermicelli has turned to a golden colour, slowly add the milk to the saucepan. Stir the milk into the mixture so everything mixes well. It’s all about getting the flavours to combine.
- Turn up the heat to medium and let the milk come to a gentle simmer.
- It’s important to stir the milk continuously as it can quite easily stick to the pot’s bottom and burn.
- After the milk has simmered for around 20 minutes, add the sago to the saucepan. Adding the sago to the saucepan thickens the mixture and forms the “Boeber” consistency we all know and love.
- Let the Boeber simmer on low heat until the sago pearls turn translucent and are cooked. Cooking sago pearls should only take a maximum of 20 minutes.
- Now, add the condensed milk to the saucepan. While it starts to melt, fill the can to the halfway point with hot water and then pour it into the saucepan. Adding the hot water is done to slightly water down the consistency; otherwise, the pudding will be too thick for the intended outcome.
- Keep stirring the mixture while it simmers. Keep stirring for around 5 minutes to ensure that all the flavours are perfectly combined.
- Add 1 teaspoon of rose water to the saucepan and stir it in.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
- Serve the pudding in a bowl with the toasted almond flakes sprinkled on top.
Keep in mind that Boeber appears runny when it is hot and thicker when it cools down. Another tip to keep in mind is that on cooling, the pudding will form what appears to be a thick skin on the top surface. There is no need to remove the skin or try to strain it. Rather, stir it into the mixture when you heat it as the thick skin will melt away and add to the pudding’s thick and creamy texture.
If you have leftover pudding, keep it and reheat it as required. If it looks a little thick when you need it next, don’t add more milk until you have heated it and taken a look at the consistency. The pudding is usually a lot thicker when it is cool than when it is warm. Heating the pudding will loosen it up a bit.
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