South Africa- Bobotie Recipe

South African Bobotie

This recipe for Bobotie was recommended by my South African friend Catherine, a talented academic and artist. I have yet to visit South Africa but would love to go, as I imagine it is an incredibly multicultural country with a diverse selection of foods! Bobotie is a popular dish in South Africa, and is often referred to as the country’s national dish. The complex flavours are a mixture of meat, egg, milk, fruit and curry spices. This leads to a salty, spicy and sweet balance that is a delightful surprise to the palate, even more so when served with various accompaniments.

I made some slight modifications to the original recipe shared with me (source unknown). For instance, due to the availability of ingredients, I substituted apple pear chutney for apricot or peach chutney. In addition, I used mashed apricots from a tin instead of apricot jam. Finally, the most untraditional substitution was dried cranberries instead of sultanas. In fact, I have never really been a fan of sultanas nor raisins, so I usually have a stock of Craisins in my cupboard instead. These add sweetness and tanginess at the same time.

In the end, the Bobotie turned out looking much like the photos I have seen on the internet for Bobotie recipes, even if the inner ingredients were slightly different. I served the Bobotie with rice, sliced bananas and shredded coconut. It felt like the perfect meal for a cold evening! Next time I will try to make a vegetarian version.

Bread soaking in milk and the fruity ingredients
Cooking the base mixture of meat, fruit and bread


1 thick slice of crusty bread (white or brown), with crust removed
185 ml milk
15 ml oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp curry powder
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp chutney (peach or apricot – I used apple pear chutney)
1 Tbsp smooth apricot jam (I used 2 mashed apricots from a tin)
2 tsp Worcester sauce
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp brown vinegar
500 g minced beef
1/4 c sultanas (optional- I used dried cranberries)
2 eggs
pinch each of salt and turmeric
2-3 bay leaves


Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Soak the bread in the milk. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, and fry the onions and garlic. When the onions are soft, after about 6-8 minutes, add curry powder, salt, chutney, jam, Worcester sauce, turmeric and vinegar. Mix well.

Next, drain and mash the bread in a separate bowl. Reserve the milk. Add the bread to the pan along with mince and sultanas (or Craisins). Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the stove when the meat is cooked. Add 1 beaten egg to the mixture and quickly mix well. Then spoon the mixture into a large glass baking dish.

Beat the remaining egg with the reserved milk. Add the pinches of salt and turmeric. Pour over the meat mixture and scatter the bay leaves on top. Put the baking dish in a shallow water bath then bake in the over, uncovered for about 1 hour or until set.

Serve with rice, shredded coconut, chutney, nuts and sliced bananas.

Base meat mixture for the Bobotie
Milk egg layer and bay leaves on top

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