South Africa: IBobotie nelayisi eliphuzi

Sometimes when I research a country’s recipes there are a ton! Then other times there is one recipe that comes up again and again regardless of what you search for. For South Africa bobotie was one such recipe. It also happens to be the national dish of South Africa, so that is what I made.

I did not have all of the ingredients available to me so I substituted some and omitted others, in the end, sadly, it was not a new favorite. My family is not a fan of soft textures with savory dishes, nor do they like fruit and meat combined…. both of those are quite prenounced in the recipe I followed. I enjoyed it the most on day two, as reheated leftovers- the flavor was more mellow and blended. I paired it with yellow rice, a traditional choice as well as carrots, another traditional South African choice.

Let’s get to it!


The original recipe can be found at This is her recipe below with my notes and changes added 🙂


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 2 slices bread
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (I omitted this)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef lamb or turkey
  • 1 large apple grated
  • 1/3 cup fruit chutney (No store around me sold this, so I added 1/3 cup more of raisins)
  • 1/4 cup sultanas or raisins
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Egg Custard Topping

  • 3 eggs
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup milk


Pre-heat oven to 350℉

In a medium bowl, mix together milk and bread to soften it. Set aside.

Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish

Heat up a large skillet over medium heat, add butter until melted, add in onions and garlic. Sauté for about 3 minutes just until soft and fragrant.

Next stir in the spices: curry powder, turmeric, ground cumin, coriander, thyme and oregano.

Add ground meat and stirring constantly to break it up, cook until beef is no longer pink or slightly brown. Remove from the stove.

Add the meat to a bowl, followed by bread mixture, chutney, grated apple, lemon juice and zest, and Worcestershire – add sultanas or raisins. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix all together well.

Add beef mixture into greased casserole dish. Using a spoon press the beef mixture down. This helps keep the egg mixture on top and forms a nice custard top when baked,

Bake in the oven for around 40-50 minutes.

While the bobotie is baking, mix together eggs, cream, milk and a ¼ teaspoon of turmeric.

Take the meat out of the oven, pour the egg mixture over the beef. Arrange the bay leaves on top.

Bake for another 20 minutes (check after 15 minutes ) or until the egg mixture has set.

Remove and let it rest for a few minutes then serve with yellow rice and vegetables.

Yellow Rice

Fun fact, I learned through making this that I’m not a fan of turmeric. My husband on the other hand, loved it.


  • 1 Bay leaf, dried
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup Onion diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter


Over medium heat, melt the butter into the oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté till translucent and aromatic.

Next, add the rice and turmeric, stir to combine.

Add the chicken broth and bay leaf- cover and simmer for 18 minutes (or until all the water is absorbed).

Once cooked, leave covered and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and serve.

Carrot Coins


  • 4 large carrots peeled and chopped into coins
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • salt to taste


Place carrots in a cold pan and cover with water, bring it up to a simmer and cook till the carrots are just cooked (a fork or knife with go in with little to no resistance).

Drain off the extra water and stir in butter and honey and stir over medium low heat.

Reduce the sauce and coat the carrots, add salt to taste.

This culinary adventure was very involved and I would love to try this dish again, but in South Africa or a South African restaurant. I have a sneaking suspicion that my flavors and execution were a bit off… but that is one the reasons I love doing this project! Not only is Martin learning about other countries but I am too and this one was fun 🙂

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