Cape Malay bobotie recipe

2016-11-30 06:00
Cape Malay Cooking’s bobotie.            Photo: CAPE MALAY COOKING

Cape Malay Cooking’s bobotie. Photo: CAPE MALAY COOKING

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THIS is a spicy flavourful mince dish which originated from Indonesia.

The origins of the name are not clear, although ‘bobotok’ was an Indonesian dish consisting of meat with a custard topping that was cooked in a pan of water until the egg mixture set.

It is also one of those dishes that reflects the history of South Africa that melt together to create what we now know as South African cuisine.

Bobotie is a Cape-Malay creation, and they (the Malays) spiced it up even more with cumin, coriander and cloves, which was influenced from the Dutch who brought ground meat to the local cuisine in 1652.

The spices were introduced by the slaves from Indonesia during the 17th century and the presentation is reminiscent of English shepherd’s pie as we know it today.


500g minced meat (lamb or beef)

2 slices white bread (preferably a couple of days old)

2 tbsp cooking oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

½ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp salt (or to taste)

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 large egg

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp sugar (optional)

6 bay leaves

For the topping:

6 large eggs

1 cup milk


. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

. Pour cold water to cover over the bread and set aside to soak.

. Meanwhile fry onions in oil until they are soft and starting to colour, 10 minutes.

. Add cloves, garlic, salt, curry powder, two of the bay leaves and turmeric and simmer for 5 minutes adding drops of water if necessary.

. In a separate bowl combine the minced meat with the onion mixture, eggs, lemon juice and sugar.

. Squeeze the water from the bread and mix until well blended.

. Transfer the mixture into an ovenproof dish (23 x 33cm and about 5-6cm deep).

. Press the mixture down well and smooth the top. You can make this and chill one day ahead.

. For the topping, beat the milk and eggs, then pour over the meat.

. Top with the remaining bay leaves and bake for 35-40 minutes until the topping is set and starting to turn golden.

. Serve with almond yellow rice and mango chutney,


. Add a couple tablespoons of mango chutney or apricot preserves to the meat if you like. A grated apple is also sometimes added.

. Stir a handful of toasted, slivered almonds into the meat mixture before cooking, or garnish the finished dish with toasted almonds.

. One or two beaten eggs can also be stirred into the meat mixture if you like.

. Substitute lemon leaves for the bay leaves.

For more such recipes, visit

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