Boeber Night, the 15th night of Ramadaan


The 15th of Ramadaan heralds the middle of the fast and the eagerly awaited Boeber night. A Cape Town tradition that may have made it further north in South Africa. In truth, Indian Muslims in Cape Town have been having boeber since the beginning of the month (is that cheating?).

The tradition of making Boeber, a rich, creamy milky drink with vermicilli, sago, cardomon and cinnamon on the 15th night of Ramadaan and thereafter is rooted in the Malay community of Cape Town, the recipe for which was drawn from their Javanese and Indonesian ties. Where ever it originally came from, we in Cape Town have certainly adopted it as our own. The Indian Koknis in Cape Town for instance have there own name for it. It’s called pez, kind of pronounced as pears. But basically the same dish. Some add rose water, some add almonds or pistachios. However you like it, make it your own. See below for a traditional Malay recipe.

Image Source: www.hobby.net.au

100 g butter
75 ml sago
200 ml water to soak the sago
250 ml extra-fine vermicelli
3 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods, cracked
50 g sultanas
2 litres milk
15 ml rose water optional
200 ml  sugar
50 g blanched and slivered almonds

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 about till it starts to go golden brown. Add the cardamom, cinnamon and sultanas. Stir before pouring the milk into the pan. Bring to the boil then add pre-soaked sago and simmer for about 15 minutes stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking. The sago should become transparent. Add the rose water, sugar and almonds and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes before serving.


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