Bobotie – a classical Cape Dish


This is probably the most widely known and loved of all Cape dishes.  It has its origins at the Cape in the 17th century when the Dutch Settlers, brought their unique style of cooking, infused with the spices of the East.In earlier times, it was made as a Monday supper dish from left-over roast lamb or beef usually the remains of a Sunday roast, but in the South African home of today raw ground beef is usually used.



Bobotie is traditionally served in an earthenware casserole with yellow raisin rice, toasted coconut, sliced banana and chutney.

You’ll need: 1 thick slice white bread, crusts removed, 250ml cold milk, 2 Tbs sunflower or peanut oil, 1 Tbs butter, 2 medium onions, finely chopped, 2 fat cloves of garlic, 1 Tbs medium, aromatic curry powder, 1 tsp turmeric, 2 Tbs white wine vinegar, tamarind juice or lemon juice, 1 kg ground beef, a portion of this could be ground fat mutton, 3 Tbs fruity chutney, 125ml ground almonds, 75g unbleached seedless sultanas, grated rind of one lemon and one orange [no white pith], 1 Tbs natural or palm sugar, 4 bay leaves, 2 jumbo free range eggs, Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper, Knife point of turmeric [if desired], 6 fresh lemon leaves [for garnish].

Method: Soak the slices of bread in the cold milk and when saturated, squeeze dry in a sieve, set aside.  Reserve the milk to make the custard topping.  Preset the oven at 180°C.  In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil and the butter, start browning the onions over medium heat.  After a while add the garlic and continue cooking slowly until the mixture is a light golden brown.  Add the curry powder, turmeric and white wine vinegar, tamarind or lemon juice and cook for a few minutes to release the aromatic oils of the spices.  Add the ground beef/lamb and stir with a spoon to break it up, keep stirring until it loses its red colour.  Add the chutney, almonds, sultanas, grated rinds, natural or palm sugar, bay leaves and seasoning.  Add one of the eggs, beaten, the soaked bread and the ground almonds.  Taste and reseason if necessary.  Pack into a flat ovenproof dish and smooth off the top.  Cover and bake in the preset oven for one and a half hours. Turn down the oven temperature to 150°C to cook the topping.  To make the topping, whisk the remaining egg into the milk season and strain if required. At this point you could add a knife-point of turmeric to the milk just to give the topping a yellow colour.  When the bobotie comes out of the oven, pour over the custard.  Garnish in a pattern with the lemon leaves and return to the oven for a further half hour or until the topping has set.

Serve with yellow rice and raisins, chutney, sliced ripe bananas and toasted coconut.

Serves 6 people

June 15th, 2009|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |