This is the national dish of South Africa and although some of the ingredients sound unusual it is delicious and very similar to a moussaka.

I had never actually heard of this dish until I was shopping in a supermarket in Swakopmund, Namibia and came across a packet of Bobotie ready mix. I took a couple home along with some Biltong and held an African evening for some friends to show off my holiday pictures and also introduce them to Biltong and some nice SA wines.

The bobotie didn’t last long and so this became a regular family meal, although my wife still iosn’t keen on mixing fruit into a savory dish, it’s just not the German thing!

There are many recipes out there calling for about a million ingredients, but I will give you the tried and trusted version which came from a South African friend of mine.

Serves 6


  1 kg minced lamb (or beef)
  2 thick slices white bread with crust removed
  1 medium onion (diced)
  2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  25ml oil
  1/2 tbsp butter
  3 tbsp Mrs Balls hot chutney
  1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  1 tspn allspice
  1 tspn tumeric
  1 tspn salt
  2 1/2 tspn Worcestershire sauce
  1 1/2 tbsp malt vinegar
  3 tbsp sultanas
  3 bay leaves
  375ml milk
  3 eggs

Preparation method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180c.

In a bowl soak the bread in the milk and set to one side. Heat up the oil and butter in large pan and fry the onions and garlic until soft then add the curry powder, salt, chutney, jam, 2 bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, turmeric, allspice and vinegar and mix well. Squeeze the milk from the bread back into the bowl and mash bread and reserve milk. Add bread, sultanas and the minced meat to the pan and cook over a low heat, stirring and when meat loses its pinkness, remove from the heat. Add 1 beaten egg, mix well then spoon into a greased baking dish or casserole dish and level the top.

For the topping

Beat the 2 remaining eggs into the milk add a pinch of salt and tumeric and pour over the meat in the baking dish. Add the bay leaf to the top then bake uncovered in the oven at 180C for approximately 1 hour or until nicely browned.