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Bobotie Recipe

By Samara on April 3, 2020
A classic dish from South Africa, bobotie (pronounced "ba-bo-tea") is the epitome of comfort food, full of aromatic and warming flavours.

Bobotie consists of curried ground beef covered in a custard-like topping. The dish’s roots are thought to date back to the 17th century when Dutch East India Company traders landed in Cape Town with their Malay and Indian slaves. Bobotie combines elements of Western and Eastern cuisine, and remains one of South Africa’s most popular dishes. It’s a real favourite of ours during the colder winter months.


  • 3 slices of bread
  • 1 cup milk and a separate 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 tsp medium curry powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or any herb will do)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 600g ground beef
  • 65g fruit chutney
  • 1 Tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 4 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper


  • 1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F)
  • 2. Soak the bread in the cup of milk
  • 3. Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and cook until soft
  • 4. Add the curry powder, dried herbs, cumin, turmeric and garlic. Stir constantly and allow to cook for a minute or two until the garlic is soft
  • 5. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, stirring frequently to break up any large chunks
  • 6. Once the beef is cooked, remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the fruit chutney, jam, lemon zest, half of the lemon juice and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • 7. Remove the bread from the milk, squeezing and reserving any excess milk, and tear the bread into small pieces. Mix into the beef mixture and spread evenly into an oven-proof dish
  • 8. In a bowl, strain the excess milk from the bread, add the extra 1/2 cup of milk and beat in the eggs. Season with salt and pepper.
  • 9. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the meat, and scatter the bay leaves on top
  • 10. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown

Serving suggestions

  • Serve with yellow rice (basmati or long grain rice with added turmeric for colour), tomato and onion sambal, chutney, poppadoms and chilli
  • Add a sprig of Spekboom as a lemon-y garnish
  • Consider adding raisins to the meat mixture for added texture and flavour
  • Add cashew nuts to the topping for extra crunch
  • You can substitute the beef for lamb mince

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