Bobotie – the way mom used to make it

Traditional Bobotie - the way mom used to make it

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for ages now – Bobotie, the way my mum used to make it.

Bobotie is a classic, traditional South African Cape Malay dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. It is traditionally served with sambal and garnished with coconut, chutney and bananas.

Growing up, bobotie was one of my favourite dishes. Unlike most kids, I actually enjoyed the spicy notes of the curry powder and the cooked raisins. My dad and my sister would always pick out the raisins from this dish – which resulted in my mom often just removing it from the ingredients all together. She would however then substitute them with some chopped apricots. Speaking of substituting ingredients, when the purse got a bit tight in the month, mom would often half the amount of mince and add about a cup of lentils instead.

If you are vegetarian, you could easily cut out the mince all together and replace it with lentils.

To this day though, whenever I find bobotie on a menu I feel compelled to try it out, just to see how it compares with this recipe. I am obviously biased, but I think this one stands up to the best of them.

PS: This is also a great dish to make as a batch and freeze for those nights you just don’t feel like cooking or if you long for that taste of home.

Enough jabber, on with the recipe.

Bobotie – the way mom used to make it

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8

Bobotie – the way mom used to make it

Traditional South African Cape Malay bobotie recipe.


  • 60ml curry powder
  • 30ml ginger
  • 30ml brown sugar
  • 15ml turmeric
  • 2.5ml salt and pepper
  • 170g sultanas (or raisins if you prefer)
  • 30ml apricot jam
  • 30ml vinegar
  • 60ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 60ml chutney
  • 3 big onions (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 375ml milk
  • 2Tbs butter
  • olive oil for frying
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of crust-less white bread
  • 1kg minced beef
  • couple of bay leaves


  1. Soak bread in milk
  2. Heat oil and butter in large pan and fry onions and garlic
  3. When onions are soft add curry powder, ginger, sugar, turmeric, salt and pepper and mix well
  4. Add sultanas, apricot jam, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and chutney and mix well
  5. Drain and mash bread and reserve milk
  6. Add bread to pan together with mince and cook for approximately 15 minutes until the meat loses its pinkness - this will be a fairly dry mixture, but don't add water, just make sure the mixture does not burn
  7. Remove from stove and spoon into a greased baking dish and level the top (or divide between smaller dishes for freezing)
  8. Beat eggs with reserved milk, you should have approx. 300ml, pour over meat mixture and put a few bay leaves on top
  9. Stand dish in a larger pan of water to prevent it from drying out
  10. Bake at 180C for 40mins or until set


3 Comment

  1. […] noticed some slight similarities in flavour between this Moroccan dish from North Africa and the traditional South African bobotie recipe. The kids therefore asked that we add some slices of banana and sprinkle some coconut on their […]

  2. If I make it in smaller batches and freeze it is it OK to put the egg mixture on top before freezing or should I do that only when I cook a portion?

    1. Hi Pam I usually bake the bobotie with its egg mixture topping in smaller containers and then freeze them. Then when I defrost a portion all that I need to do is reheat and eat! 🙂 I hope that helps… Victoire

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