A traditional South African Cape Malay recipe, the taste is so rich and sugary. Boeber is made of milk, vermicelli, sago, sugar or condensed milk flavoured with cardamoms, stick cinnamon and rose water. If you like a “thicker” boeber add more sago. Boeber is traditionally served on the fifteenth night of Ramadan to celebrate the middle of the fast. The evening of the 15th day of Ramadaan is special for those who had fasted the first 15 days. They are known as people who are ‘op die berg’ Many, many years ago after the taraweegh salaah, boeber was served at the mosques. Every family also made boeber for this particular night. After Taraweegh salaah, boeber was also sold at boeber houses at two pence a glass. There, friends would assemble and, if it were a Friday or Saturday, would stay up until sower (suhur) and then go to the masjid for Fajr.
To make boeber you will need the following:
3/4 cup sago
200 ml water to soak the sago
250 ml vermicelli
3 cinnamon sticks
50 g sultanas (optional)
1.5 – 2 liters milk
1/2 tin condensed milk or sugar to taste
1 tin evaporated milk (optional)
1/4 cup of desiccated coconut
15 ml rose water (optional)
50 g blanched almonds (optional)
Soak the sago in the water for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan.
When it has melted, add the vermicelli and toss it so that the butter covers it and it starts to go golden brown.
Add the cardamom, cinnamon and the sultanas.
Stir before pouring the milk into the pan.
Bring to the boil before adding the pre-soaked sago and then simmer for about 30 minutes stirring constantly otherwise it will stick. Add evaporated milk. The sago should become transparent.
Add the rose water (if using), condensed milk, coconut and almonds and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Serve hot and enjoy this rich, spicy drink…
Salwaa Smith – Cape Malay Cooking & Other Delights
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