Bobotie or bobotjie is a South African dish made out of minced meat such as lamb, pork or beef mixed with different herbs and spices, dried fruits and an egg topping. For me the best way to describe is it a spicy curry flavoured meatloaf with savoury custard topping.
This recipe had originated from the Indonesian dish called bobotok and was taken to South Africa during the 16th century by Indonesians aboard Dutch East India Company’s ships that transported Spices and Malay slaves to South Africa. The Malays and Indonesians traditionally used leftover meat from Sunday dinners and used it for their bobotok dishes. As time passed by the South Africans took note and adopted the recipe to locally available ingredients and what was known as bobotok slowly transformed into the traditional dish now known as bobotie. Earlier adaptation of this dish was from the Cape Malay community and it was made with curry powder and served with sambal. It then became really popular in the Cape of Good Hope during the 17th century, the popular meat used during those days was a mixture of mutton and pork. The meat then slowly changed to beef and lamb then was introduced by South African settlers to different African regions such as Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia then the rest was history.
Bobotie is a nice and simple dish which goes well with rice and sambal like how they do it in the old days, the spices and sweetness of fruits together with the savoury meat creaminess of the custard topping is a complex but a really terrific flavour combination
1 kg lean minced beef
2 slices white bread, roughly torn apart
2 tbsp mango or orange jam
1/4 cup sultanas
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp curry powder
3 pcs cloves
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp allspice
1 1/2 cup milk
freshly ground black pepper
- Soak bread in 1/2 cup of milk, set aside.
- In a large pan sauté onions in low heat until it turns brown
- Add garlic, curry powder, cloves, cayenne, allspice and 3 pcs bay leaves, cook until fragrant.
- Add the beef, sultanas and jam then cook until beef changes colour while continuously stirring for around 10 minutes.
- Add the soaked bread then mix well until bread is well incorporated to the meat mixture.
- Turn heat off then remove the cloves and bay leaf from the mixture.
- In a bowl mix together 1 cup milk and 2 eggs, set it aside.
- Place meat mixture in a baking tray then press to compress. Pour egg mixture on top, add some bay leaf then place in a 180C preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- Serve with rice and sambal.