Bobotie is a traditional South African dish of curried minced meat baked with a creamy egg-based topping, similar to moussaka. It is an interesting dish, curious not only for its unusual marriage of sweet, savoury, meaty, fruity, custardy, crumbly and spicy components. There are as many variations for bobotie as there are cooks. The only secret is to find you own favourite amount and mix of spices! The dish is easy to make and can be on the table in just over an hour.
Bobotie is a traditional South African dish of curried minced meat baked with a creamy egg-based topping, similar to moussaka. It is an interesting dish, curious not only for its unusual marriage of sweet, savoury, meaty, fruity, custardy, crumbly and spicy components.
- 1kg beef mince (lean)
- 2 slices white bread, soaked in water, pressed to a pulp
- 250 ml pitless raisins
- 3 onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 15 ml fresh ginger, finely grated
- 30 ml soft brown sugar
- Salt & pepper
- Dry spices
- 15 ml mild curry powder
- 5 ml ground turmeric
- 5 ml ground coriander
- 5 ml ground ginger
- 2,5 ml ground cumin
- Wet ingredients
- 30 ml vegetable oil
- 30 ml Worcestershire sauce
- 30 ml lemon juice
- 30 ml apricot jam
- 60 ml fruit chutney
- 30 ml tomato paste
- For the custard
- 500 ml milk
- 4 eggs
- 4 bay leaves
- Salt & pepper
In a large pot, heat the oil and fry the onions until soft and starting to brown lightly.
Add the garlic, ginger and dry spices and fry for another minute until the bottom of the pot goes dry and sticky.
Add the beef bit by bit, breaking up any lumpy pieces. Fry, stirring, until it just starts to change colour from pink to light brown – before adding more meat. The meat shouldn’t brown too much.
Season generously with salt and pepper.
Add the wet ingredients and raisins and give it a good stir.
Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often and taking care not to burn the bottom of the pot.
Add a touch of water if the mixture is too dry.
In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 180 C.
Prepare the custard topping: mix the milk and eggs and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
When the bobotie is ready, transfer it to a large oven-proof baking dish and flatten the surface with a spatula.
Press the bay leaves into the bobotie, then pour the custard mixture over the top.
Carefully place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes until the custard is set.
Remove from oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.
If you can get them try exchanging the bay leaves for fresh lemon leaves - it really adds another flavour component. We like to sprinkle with sliced almonds which gives the dish a nice crunch on the palate.
What is the origin of Bobotie?
Bobotie is a recipe that was imported to South Africa from Indonesia in the seventeenth century and was adapted by the Cape Malay community. The community members are descendants of Cape Malay are slaves and political refugees from Indonesia and Malaysia. Until the early nineteenth century, the Cape Colony was under Dutch control.
The word bobotie comes from the Indonesian bobotok or botok!
Spicy Bobotie needs a full flavoured and balanced Rose to freshen the palate. We chose a Reserve de Pierre Rose 2019. Crack open this elegant tipple and serve nicely chilled with any spicy food. Delicious. Available from Naked Wines.
If you like a spicy dish try our other recipes with bite: