Bobotie, from the Cape

Recipe by Zurie
READY IN: 1hr 35mins


  • 1 12
    lbs ground beef (750 g minced meat) or 1 1/2 lbs lamb (750 g minced meat)
  • oil (for frying)
  • 2
    slices white bread, normal thickness
  • 12
    cup milk (125 ml)
  • 1
    large onions or 2 smaller onions
  • 4
    teaspoons curry powder, very mild (Cape Malay is the best)
  • 1
    tablespoon breyani spices, generous, crushed* (see note below)
  • 12
    teaspoon turmeric
  • 1
    tomatoes, ripe, peeled and chopped
  • 12
    teaspoon sugar
  • 1
    apple, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1
    tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 14 - 12
    cup seedless raisin (this is for you to decide)
  • 2
    teaspoons salt
  • 2
    tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1
  • 34
    cup milk (200 ml)
  • 12 -16
    almonds, whole, blanched (or use split almonds)
  • Extra
  • 1
    egg, plus
  • 12
    cup milk, and
  • 13
    teaspoon turmeric


  • *It might not be easy to find the breyani mix of spices we can get here. But it is only a mix of some or all of the following spices, which you could mix yourself and crush or process coarsely: fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin, pimento berries, cardamom, black pepper, star anise, bay leaves and cassia or cinnamon sticks.
  • Set oven at 350 deg F/180 deg Celsius For fan/convection ovens the heat can be 10 deg. lower.
  • In a small bowl, tear up the slices of bread roughly, and pour over the ½ cup milk. Set aside.
  • Peel and chop the onion. Heat about 3 tablespoons oil in a large pot. Fry the onion over medium heat until translucent.
  • Add the curry powder, coarsely crushed breyani spices and turmeric. Stir, and let the spices fry for a few minutes. Add more oil if they stick: usually quite a bit of oil is needed.
  • Add the chopped, peeled tomato, sugar, grated apple and lemon rind and stir through. Fry for a minute, then add the meat.
  • Break up the meat so that the ground meat is loose. Add the salt. Stir often, and mix through with the spice mixture.
  • Add the apricot jam, and stir so it melts into the meat mixture.
  • When the meat is sort of medium done, remove the pot from the heat. Stir through and let cool a little.
  • Take the bread which has been soaking in the milk, and break it up into wet crumbs. The bread will have absorbed all the milk. Add the milky crumbs to the meat mixture, and mix through.
  • Break the egg in a bowl, whisk, and add the milk.
  • Add this milk-egg mixture to the meat as well.
  • Turn into a greased oven dish, and stud with almonds on top. Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven.
  • Whisk the last egg with the milk and enough turmeric to turn the mixture a nice yellow colour. Take the meat out of the oven, pour over the custard, and bake about 15 minutes longer, or until the egg custard has set.
  • Serve with Yellow Rice (Begrafnisrys), a green vegetable such as broccoli, and a salad.
  • After tasting the bobotie, feel free to play around with the spices next time!