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Bobotie is a mild spicy dish made from minced meat and egg custard, served with yellow rice and a salad.

It is a complex though well-balanced combination of flavours: sweet and fruity (sultanas, chutney, apricot jam and a wee bit of sugar), spicy (curry and turmeric), sour (vinegar) and salty (the meat).

Bobotie is from Dutch origin and was made in the Cape pretty much since the Cape of Good Hope was founded by Jan van Riebeeck in 1652. Back then it was made from leftover, minced, leg of lamb. There is a recipe for fish bobotie, but recipes that use minced meat are by far the most common.

This recipe, which is Marietjie’s favourite, was first published in a Sunday newspaper and remained popular: it was republished first in Wenresepte 3 by A. Human (1987), and again in Eenskotteltreffers by C. Erasmus (1995). Carmen Niehaus published a spicier variation in Huisgenoot Top500 Wenresepte / YOU Let's Cook Top 500 Recipes (2006).

Serves 8.

Ingredients group A

  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soft brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) mild curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) pepper
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) butter
  • 5 medium onions, chopped

Ingredients group B

  • 2 slices of bread, soaked in water
  • 1 kg lean mince meat
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) sultanas
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) chutney
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) worcester sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) tomato paste

Ingredients group C

  • 1 1/2 cup (375 ml) milk
  • 2 eggs


  1. Heat groups A's spices in a heavy saucepan to release its flavour. Be careful not to scorch.
  2. Add onions and butter and fry until onions are soft.
  3. Squeeze water from bread and add ingredients of group B to the onion mix.
  4. Simmer mixture for 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Pile into a buttered casserole dish
  6. Mix group C's ingredients together, pour over dish.
  7. You may want add laurel or lemon leaves to the topping. Press in lightly. Almonds on the topping are optional.
  8. Bake at 180°C for about 45 minutes

Serve with yellow rice. Quince or stewed dried peaches will add a lovely traditional flavour.

YOU Let's Cook Top 500 Recipes

Carmen Niehaus

The YOU Let's Cook Top 500 Recipes book combines recipes from YOU and Huisgenoot magazine's popular Winning Recipes, and the Let's Cook series by Carmen Niehaus.