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Delicious and Traditional South African Bobotie

South African Bobotie
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Easy Beef Bobotie Recipe

What Is Bobotie

Bobotie is a traditional South African dish that is a little sweet and spicy. It’s a Cape-Malay creation that is primarily made with curried ground beef, topped with a milk and egg custard mixture.

There are many local variations of Bobotie, but the idea is that the ground beef, (known as mince in South Africa) should be a little bit spicy, and a little bit sweet.

Bobotie is traditionally served with Yellow rice (aka geel rys, in Afrikaans). A side salad is optional, but delicious with the meal.

South African Bobotie Recipe

Prep Time: 20mins | Cook Time: 40mins | Servings: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

1 tablespoon of olive oil (or enough oil to coat the pan)
1 onion finely chopped
1 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 lbs lean ground beef mince
1 tablespoon Garam Masala or 2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon clove powder
salt to taste/ season
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons fine apricot jam (more if you like it sweeter)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup of breadcrumbs (optional)
4 eggs
2 cup milk
2-3 bay leaves

How to Cook
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent.

  2. Add the ground beef (mince). Break it into small pieces and cook until completely browned.

  3. Add in the garam masala or curry powder, turmeric, salt, lemon juice, and apricot jam.

  4. Mix thoroughly until combined. 

  5. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the flavors are thoroughly blended. Give it a little taste to make sure it is to your liking. If you want it a bit more spicy, add more curry. If you like it sweeter, add more apricot jam.

  6. Transfer the meat to an oven-safe baking dish. If you are cooking in a cast iron or oven-safe pan, no transfer is necessary. 

  7. In a mixing bowl, mix the eggs, and milk. Gently pour the egg mixture over the cooked meat.

  8. Add the bay leaves on top for decoration. 

  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, or until the egg mixture is set and golden brown.

Notes About Traditional Bobotie
  1. Bobotie is traditionally made with either apricot jam or chutney. If you prefer chutney, feel free to replace the apricot jam with fruit chutney.
  2. To thicken the bobotie, a traditional bobotie is made with 2-4 slices of white bread that had been soaked in milk for approximately 10-20 minutes. Drain the milk and add the soaked bread to your meat mixture. Mix thoroughly. In the above recipe, the bread has been replaced by breadcrumbs. In our house, we try to eliminate bread when possible, so we omit the bread/breadcrumbs and it’s just as good.
  3. Some recipes also call for ½ – 1 cup of raisins. If you love raisins in your food, feel free to add them.

The video below is of Fatima Sydow’s bobotie. Her ingredients are slightly different from the one offered above, but I shared this video nonetheless because:

  1. Fatima Sydow is a national treasure and it’s fun to watch her cook;
  2. If you have never made bobotie before, watching the video gives you a great idea of how it is made.
  3. There are tons of bobotie recipe variations. Use the recipes you find as guidelines, and tweak it as you see fit. 

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About The Author

Hi. We’re the Chelten’s. We visit South Africa 1-2 times per year, so we want to share our experiences with you so that you may make educated decisions when you plan your next trip to the rainbow nation.

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