Friday 7 October 2011

Friday Feast - Bobotie

Pronounced ba-boor-tea, Bobotie is the national dish of South Africa - delicious curried meat topped with an egg custard (not dissimilar to Moussaka). Oh go on - please let Moussaka be today's long word :)

I always think of an amazing lady we knew called Maxie whenever I cook this dish. She had escaped from their farm in Zimbabwe after her husband was murdered and was making a new life over here. Sadly, she too died just over a year ago and the world is a duller place without her. She had not one ounce of self-pity despite her illness and the loss of everything back in Zimbabwe - a real inspiration!
Ahem, 10 minutes less would have been good. The top's a bit brown (but it still tasted as good as ever!)

Serves 4-5

1 medium slice white bread, crust removed
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 level tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
500g (1lb) minced lamb
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper
1 medium egg
2 level tablespoons plain flour
150ml (¼ pint) milk

Set the oven to 200°C or Gas Mark 6.

Place the bread in a bowl, pour 100ml (3½fl oz) water over it and leave it to soak while cooking the onion and mince.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Cook the onion over a medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, stirring it occasionally until it starts to soften. Stir in the curry powder, sugar and lemon juice and cook for a further minute, stirring well to mix them together.

Add the minced lamb to the pan and cook until the meat turns brown. Add the bread to the pan, and any remaining liquid from the bowl. Stir well to break up the bread and mix it into the mince. Remove the pan from the heat and turn the meat out into an ovenproof dish, pressing it down well to level the surface. Place the bay leaves on top.

To make the bobotie topping: Break the egg into a bowl and gradually whisk in the flour, then whisk in the milk and season well with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the mince.

Place the dish in the centre of the oven and bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until the topping is a light golden colour.

Remove from the oven and serve your bobotie immediately with salad or vegetables.

Things I do: At first I didn't realise just how much this is akin to a soft meat loaf - I always worried that I was making it too dry. To be honest, I don't think the egg topping goes very far and sometimes I double the quantity - if I remember!

The recipe says it isn't suitable for freezing but I have frozen leftover Bobotie successfully.

Whilst looking into the story behind Bobotie just now, I found some similar recipes using beef mince instead of lamb. Next time I make this dish I think I'll try it using beef instead of lamb for a change.

Maxie always signed off with 'Hambe kahle' - which means 'Go well' and today's recipe is for Maxie.

Thank you for calling by today and I hope you have a wonderful weekend - in the words of Maxie, 'Hambe kahle'!



  1. Oh Di when are you gonna ask me round for tea? :-) That sounds so yummy. My tea tends to be thought of and cooked within about 30 mins of eating it as life here is always so busy. I really must make more effort cos you put me to shame.
    A x

  2. Mmmm, look very interesting and somegthing DIFFERENT to do with mince for a change.


    Thanks Di.

    'Hambe kahle' xxx

  3. That sounds good. I shall give it a try. Kate x

  4. Sounds yummy - got to do Jamie fish pie for Maxine tonight but will def try bobotie soon. Thanks for sharing. Now I am feeling hungry so will go and make a quick sandwich before heading for the sewing room and get last minute jobs done for craft fair tomorrow. x Jo

  5. Your getting very difficult to visit on Fridays Di. Although I love your recipes and your posts, I am left starved with's just not right! LOL Maxie sounds like she was an amazing human being and a lot can be learned from her. Have yourself an amazing weekend my friend!

  6. Still looks good enough to eat Di!:) Sandra H

  7. I LOVE making this dish... I use veggie mince, or leave out the meat component completely. It really is delicious! As for the colouring... isn't it supposed to be that colour? Mine always is :)

  8. Lovely story behind this post Di. The recipe I have been given is a little different but I believe every S African housewife had their own version. Mine used 2.25 lbs of mince but I did half it the first time I made it!
    Not got to make it this weekend as I have spent the weekend in bed with yet another chest and sinus infection! Not happy!


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