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I don’t have many memories of eating Traditional South African Bobotie actually, and funny enough when someone asked me the other day if I enjoyed it I actually wasn’t sure.
So I called up my aunt who is a phenomenal cook and asked her if she had a recipe for me. And she did. I, of course, adapted it and changed it to incorporate some additional flavours I enjoy with mince but tried to stay true to the roots of this Traditional South African Bobotie Recipe. The result? The Best Bobotie Recipe; a delicious sweet spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. Served with yellow rice. I’m converted, I like Bobotie!
If you’re wanting to try other traditional South African dishes, then head on over to our post on “12 Traditional South African Recipes You Should Try.” Featuring both sweet and savoury dishes this blog post highlights some of our favourites.
Where does Bobotie come from?
There is a lot of history available on this dish, the first recipe for Bobotie appeared in a Dutch cookbook in 1609. It was then taken to South Africa and adopted initially by the Cape Malay community. Some even say that Bobotie is the National Dish of South Africa.
How to make Bobotie
Homemade South African Bobotie is typically made with beef mince. Early recipes incorporated ginger, marjoram and lemon rind; but the addition of curry powder has somewhat simplified this recipe. Some recipes also call for chopped onions and almonds to be added. Traditionally, dried fruit such as raisins or sultanas are added. Most recently more recipes are incorporating chutney, in particular, a well known South African brand, Mrs Balls Chutney. The cooked mince mixture is finally finished off with an egg mixture topping and usually served with “yellow rice”. Simply rice cooked with turmeric. Alternatively, give our homemade dinner rolls a go. Nothing beats a warm roll served with this dish.
If you’re keen to give other South African recipes a go, I can highly recommend this cookbook from Magdaleen van Wyk, available at Mighty Ape.
Change it up but keep it traditional
Our recipe typically follows the traditional way of making South African Bobotie, however, I have added some of our own unique twists to enhance the flavours even more:
- GARLIC: traditionally no garlic is added, I find it hard to cook mince without adding any garlic.
- PAPRIKA: adding the paprika will give this dish a sweet pepper flavour, without adding additional heat.
- TOMATO PUREE: typically the mince does not get any tomato, however, I always add tomato puree to my mince as it adds a rich taste to the final dish.
- LEMON JUICE: not only do I add the lemon rind (as per traditional recipes). I also add the juice of half a lemon.
- SOAKING THE BREAD: instead of soaking the bread in milk, I soaked it in the water used to soak the raisins. So don’t forget to keep this water once the raisins are soaked, don’t throw it out!
- YOGHURT: for the egg custard most recipes use milk. Instead of milk, greek yoghurt was used. If you like banana’s, you could opt to add banana flavoured yoghurt as well.
- MRS BALLS CHUTNEY: all though this is not unique, most bobotie recipes incorporate apricot jam. Luckily it is freely available through various online shops such as The South African Shop and even from Amazon. So you have no excuse not to try it!
If you’re after flavourful spices, Gregg’s Herbs and Spices are available at most supermarkets. They have a huge variety to choose from and very well priced.
What spices are used to make up the Bobotie Spice Mix?
Although many South Africans are using a mix of their own spices to make a flavourful curry, for this Bobotie Recipe there are three key spices that make up this Bobotie Spice Mix:
What is Bobotie traditionally served with?
South African Bobotie is traditionally served with yellow rice and some steamed veggies. Some would add slices of banana on the side and even some chutney.
How to make Bobotie
Although there are a few ingredients to keep track of when making this flavoursome Bobotie Recipe, it’s not a difficult dish, and if you follow the recipe step by step you should have no problem in achieving a magnificent final result.
The first step is to soak your raisins in water, you want the water to be absorbed so that the raisins become nice and plump. Remember, don’t throw out the water when you’re done!
Fry up the Bobotie Ingredients
Fry the onions, curry, and turmeric in butter and a dash of oil until the onions become translucent. Next, add the chopped garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the mince and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree, lemon zest, and juice. The smells radiating from your kitchen should be amazing.
Soak 3 slices of white bread in the raisin water and once soaked add to mince mixture. Mix well. Add the plumped up raisins and freshly chopped parsley. Pour the mince mixture into prepared dish and level out.
Using a pastry brush gently spread the chutney evenly over the top.
Prepare the custard topping by mixing the yoghurt and eggs and gently pour over the mince mixture.
Put in the oven and bake at 180 degrees Celcius for about 50 minutes to an hour. The egg custard should be well cooked and golden brown.
Until next time!
- ½ cup Raisins Soaked in 2 cups of hot water for 1 hour
- 600 grams Mince Meat
- 2 medium Onions Chopped
- 2 tsp Curry
- 2 tsp Turmeric
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 cloves Garlic Chopped
- 2 tbsp Paprika
- 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
- ½ Lemon Zest and Juice of
- 3 slices Bread
- 1 tsp Fresh Parsley Chopped
- Salt and Pepper To taste
- +/- 3 tbsp Chutney Mrs Balls. Can replace with Apricot Jam
- 100 ml Yoghurt Greek or Banana Flavoured
- 2 Eggs Whisked
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (356 degrees F). Lightly grease a 28 cm diameter round baking dish. (11 Inches)
- Put the raisins in the hot water to soak and become plump. (Do this 40 minutes before you start cooking).
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a larger non-stock frying pan. Place the onion, curry and turmeric into the pan and stir-fry over moderate heat for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
- Add the garlic cloves and paprika and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
- Next, add the mince and fry for 5 minutes until it's not pink anymore. Add the tomato puree, lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Soak the bread in the raising water and add to the mince mixture. Mix until well incorporated.
- Add the plumped up raisins and freshly chopped parsley and gently stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour into prepared dish. Add spoonfuls of chutney or jam and gently spread over the top of the mince mixture until well covered. You can do this using a pastry brush.
- Add the yoghurt and two eggs and mix well.
- Gently pour over the top of the mince mixture. Finish off with bay leafs (optional).
- Bake in the oven for +/- 50 minutes until the egg custard is cooked and golden brown.
- If you are worried about the egg custard over-browning, place foil over it for the first 30 minutes of baking. Thereafter remove the foil and let it bake until golden brown.
- If you want a thicker custard topping, simply add another egg to your egg custard mix.
- As oven baking times may vary, ensure you keep a close eye on it towards the end, you don’t want the egg custard to burn.
- You can omit the raisins if you wish, you may also replace it with other dried fruit such as cranberries or apricots.