Bogobe jwa lerotse is a type of porridge enjoyed at social gatherings, such as weddings. It does not contain meat so it works well as a vegetarian option. Botswana people live off a healthy diet and almost all their food is boiled or steamed with very little vegetable oil.
This dish has a wonderfully subtle flavor given to it by the lerotse melon. The fruit looks almost identical to the common watermelon and is indigenous to Botswana. It has orange flesh that is not sweet. When raw, it tastes a little like cucumber and when it is cooked, it gives the bogobe a unique flavor. The lerotse can be prepared the day before for best results.
2 cups bopi jwa mabele (sorghum mealie)
1/2 lerotse (cooking melon) cut into 3 cm chunks, peeled and seeds removed
3/4 cup madila (sour milk)
1. Boil some water (about 1/4 of the pot).When boiling, add enough lerotse to fill the pot and cover.
2. When the volume reduces, add more lerotse, and continue until all the lerotse pieces have been added.
3. Cook gently for another 30 minutes, until the lerotse can be whisked with a traditional wooden whisk (lehetho).
4. Slowly stir in the bopi jwa mabele, a little at a time, while you whisk until all the lumps are broken down. At this point the mixture should be of a creamy consistency – the consistency of typical soft porridge. Cover the pot and allow to simmer.
5. Add more mabele while stirring with a cooking stick (liso le le apayang) to avoid lumps. Continue adding mabele and stirring to a desired consistency and allow to cook for about 15 minutes.
6. Add the madila, gently folding it into the boiling mixture.
7. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Note: Steps 1-3 can be prepared the day before. If the lerotse has been prepared in advance, add it to the pot and stir frequently until warm before adding the bopi jwa mabele.