South African Bobotie

March 9, 2015  •  Meat & Poultry

bobotie-cookedWhenever I come back from a trip to a new country, I seem fixated on the food, and inspired to try to create something at home that will transport me back. One of my favorite dinners on our safari included Bobotie, a ubiquitous custardy stew type of dish that comes in as many variations as there are cooks who make it. It generally includes some ground beef or lamb (it will be referred to as mince meat in South Africa), milk, eggs, and some dried fruit and nuts.bobotie-uncookedMaking Bobotie isn’t hard – you just cook up the ingredients with the spices and pour them into a baking dish, pour some egg and milk over the top, and then bake uncovered for 30 minutes or so. In South Africa you will find this served with yellow rice – make some by simply adding a pinch of turmeric or a bit of saffron to white rice. I’ve been missing South Africa a lot since I got back – I’m sure partially because it’s summer there and we’re in the dead of winter still in Colorado – and making this dish helped transport me, if just for one dinner.

South African Bobotie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 thick slice bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1½ pounds ground lamb (or beef)
  • 1 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup raisins (I used chopped dried figs)
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup chutney
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 large bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Soak the bread in the milk and then squeeze out excess milk, retaining the milk. Shred the soaked bred and combine with the ground lamb and curry powder. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the lamb; sauté until browned and then remove to a plate.
  2. Add the remaining oil along with the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, pepper, and cloves and sauté until the onion is softened slightly. Remove from the heat and add the cooked lamb, raisins, almonds, and chutney. Stir together and pour into a greased baking dish.
  3. Combine the reserved milk with the eggs and lemon juice and whisk together. Pour over the top of the baking dish and then top with the pay leaves. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees until bubbly and set, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.



2 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Veena Nayak says:

    Hi Michele,

    What kind of chutney did you use in the recipe? I enjoy your website. I have been to South African. I enjoyed this dish too.


    • Michele says:

      Veena, I used whatever I had in the fridge, which happened to be a chutney for cheese trays – it was from Scotland and looks to be primarily onions, dates, apricots. I’m a big proponent of cooking with what’s on hand instead of being tied to a recipe!

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