There are as many variations for bobotie as there are cooks. The only secret is to find you own favourite amount and mix of spices! Other than widely believed, bobotie did not come with the slaves from Indonesia, but was actually brought from Holland by founding father Jan van Riebeeck in 1652. Why then the spices, so typical of Indonesian and Sri Lankan cooking? Because through the Dutch East India Company which sailed round the Cape of Good Hope, the Netherlands had a lively spice trade with the East in those days. But we can assume that the original dish was probably much simpler and that the slaves who brought with them their distinctive and popular way of cooking must have improved on the Dutch recipe … The final result should be soft but firm, spicy and with just a hint of curry: this is not a curry dish. I feel cardamom is a necessary ingredient. Some people add almonds, sometimes I stick crushed lemon leaves in the dish before it goes into the oven. You could also stick in whole almonds. Bay leaves are used in the same way, but bay leaves just don't do it for me! EDITED after reviews: Thank you Happy Bunny and French Tart: I always add raisins or sultanas, and often stud the top with almonds. Don't know why I left it out here!! <blush> I've added it to the recipe, but it can also be left out. POSTSCRIPT: I had inadvertently posted two recipes for bobotie over the years; I was unaware of it!! I have chosen this one to stay and the other one went to that great recipe heaven in the sky. The other recipe had chutney in it -- about 2 tablespoons. You can add chutney to this one as well, especially if you cannot get all the spices. (This is what happens when a trad. recipe has many slight variations! <blush>!) Maybe I should add here that, making this a few days ago with roasted leftover leg of lamb, I had only 1 lb of meat yet I used the spice amounts as given below, and felt afterwards it could have done with more curry. Also: it tastes even better the next day!!