Vegetarian Bobotie

"This is my own vegetarian adaptation of the traditional Cape Malay dish of my country. I have tried to approximate flavour and texture as closely as possible and have retained all the ingredients my mother used when making it - aside from the mince, of course :) This project has been very important to me as most of the vegetarian versions I have found online so far are rather inaccurate. Bobotie was one of my favourite dishes as a child and I wanted to preserve and share that memory as much as I could."
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Ready In:
1hr 30mins


  • 250 g lentils
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large fresh tomato, diced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chutney
  • 1 large handful raisins
  • 40 g sliced almonds
  • For the topping

  • 3 eggs
  • 100 -150 ml milk (not entirely sure about the amount as I do it by feel, your topping should have a very pale yellow c)
  • 2 bay leaves (I tear mine up a bit, but some people put them in whole, up to you)


  • Rinse lentils until water runs clear.
  • Cover lentils with water and pre-cook for 30min (you may need to top the water up from time to time).
  • Drain lentils.
  • Preheat oven to 150C.
  • Saute onion and tomato.
  • Add curry, tumeric, salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add raisins, almonds, chutney, onion and tomato to lentils.
  • Mix and place in baking dish.
  • Shake up topping ingredients and pour over lentils.
  • Place in oven and bake for 1-1/2 hours (egg topping should have risen all the way to the middle)
  • Please note:.
  • I spice my bobotie mildy and use a slightly sweet sultana chutney - one preference found in the Cape. Some people make theirs hotter and use Mrs. Ball's Original Chutney, which is very tasty and is less sweet. I recommend you experiment, but remember, the dish should be spicy as in flavoursome, not as in burn-your-mouth.
  • Also, adding a bit more diced onion will add more texture to the lentils.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I had just exactly the homemade raisin chutney I needed for this recipe, but then I make a lot of different ones & usually have 5-6 kinds on hand! Also used almost all of the 2/3 cup of milk suggested for the topping, & was very satisfied with the results! Oh, yes, I did cut back a little on the amount of curry, but that was about it! This is definitely something I'd like to make & enjoy again! Thanks for sharing the recipe! [Tagged, made & reviewed in New Kids on the Block tag]
  2. The absence of mince meat makes this dish feel very different from the bobotie I had in South Africa, but I don't mind--I like this dish even better! I added a little more onion to add extra texture, as the author recommends. I could only find a few varieties of chutney at my grocery store (in the US); I went with Crosse & Blackwell's Hot Mango Chutney, and it was great! I also used golden raisins (sultanas) and about 1 cup of canned diced tomatoes because that's what I had on hand. I didn't have pre-sliced almonds, so I sliced them myself and got some larger pieces, which actually worked out well, texture-wise. It was difficult not to eat the lentil mixture before baking! I think I added somewhere around 1.5 tsp of salt and .5 tsp of pepper (I went by taste). Next time, I might try substituting some hot madras curry powder to increase the spice, as my chutney didn't lend much heat. I am excited to serve this to vegetarians and omnivores alike. Thanks!
  3. Made for a lunch and not an experienced cook or veggie cook and it got rave reviews!!


I am currently going through an exploration of Asian food. I have always loved Cape Malay, Indonesian and Thai cuisine, having been exposed to it on a regular basis as a child. But I have also always tended to eat the same dishes. Now I am focusing on trying new things, within the cuisines of which I am already a devotee, and by branching out into Japanese, Chinese, Sri Lankan and Indian (etc) cuisine.
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