Readers’ Recipes: M’s Original Bobotie

Courtesy of Ian Barnard.
Serves 8

  • 4 pounds mince, lamb or lean beef. You can also use fish or vegetables in lieu of meat
  • 4 large onions, diced
  • 4 slices of bread, unbuttered. Not too soggy
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk, can be increased to 3 cups if desired
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder, mild or hot, depending on personal preference
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (I use white vinegar); or juice of 2 lemons
  • 12 almonds, quartered
  • 1 cup seedless raisins
  • 8 bay leaves, or dried lemon leaves if you can’t find bay
  • 6 tablespoons of plain chutney, or hot chutney if you want it spicier
  • 4-6 tablespoons apricot jam

Place bread in the milk and allow it to absorb.

Take a large pan or frying pot and fry the onions in a little oil. Before they turn brown, add the mince, and stir well.

When the mince is cooked about half way, add all the remaining ingredients, except the 2 eggs, the milk soaked bread, and the bay leaves.

Squeeze the milk out of the soaked slices of bread, reserving it in a bowl for later use. Break up the soggy bread and add to the pan. Make sure it is well worked in, you don’t want big lumps of bread in your meal.

Add some of the remaining milk gradually to the pan. It must not be dry; however do not add too much of the milk either. You don’t want the dish to be soggy.

Smear an oven dish well with a little butter. Once all is mixed and well stirred, pour the mixture into the oven dish. Add the bay leaves evenly throughout the mixture.

Beat the eggs with a little of the remaining milk and pour over the top of the mixture evenly. Don’t stir or mix this in, as you want it to cook on the top. Cover the dish with a lid.

Bake in an oven pre-heated to 350 F for about 1 ½ hours. For the last half hour, take the lid off to allow the top to brown. Watch frequently to ensure it does not burn.

Serve with yellow or white rice, a side salad, and chutney.

Ian-Barnard“My stepmother grew up on a sheep farm in the Cape Province in South Africa, and this is her family recipe – they would often use lamb mince, but it is just as tasty with beef. To give it a good South African flavor, use Mrs Balls chutney and Rajah curry powder, which are available in the South African products section at Kirk Market. For a little extra kick, use hot curry powder and/or hot chutney. Delicious when served on a bed of yellow rice, accompanied by a Riesling or beer.”