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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday, 20 may '09: Bobotie and yellow rice

I am just about to take a lunch break and cook bobotie (pronounced boo-boo-tee) which will do for my supper and freeze well for the rest of the week. Bobotie is lekker! And about as South African as you can get. It is a Malay (Indonesian) dish which was introduced in, I suppose, the 17th century during the administration of the Cape of Good Hope by the East India Company. My definition is a sort of baked curried mince with a egg custard topping.

Here is my favourite recipe, although I hardly glance at exact quantities:

2 slices of day old bread (white or brown)
375 ml milk
25 ml cooking oil
10 ml butter
2 chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic
100 ml sultanas or raisins
25 ml curry powder
25 ml cumin seeds
10 ml salt
25 ml chutney (Mrs Ball's chutney is best)
15 ml apricot jam
5 ml borrie (tumeric)
25 ml vinegar
15 ml Worcester sauce
1 kg minced beef or lamb
3 eggs
Bay leaves


1 Soak bread in milk.
2 Heat oil and butter. Brown onion and garlic. Add cumin seeds (don't burn), curry powder, salt, chutney, jam, Worcester sauce, borrie and vingar. Stir fry spices gently.
3 Add mince and brown.
4 Pour milk off bread. Set milk aside.
5 Add bread to meat mixture. Add sultanas. Mix and stir till just cooked.
6 Add beaten egg. Mix well.
7 Place mixture into greased baking dish.
8 Beat other 2 eggs with milk (add some more milk if necessary). Pour over meat. Place bay leaves on top.
9 Bake for 45 to 60 minutes at 180 C degrees.

Serve with yellow rice, coconut, chopped bananas and chopped tomatoes and onions.

PS Cath always throws in a handful of chopped nuts - macadamians, almonds, whatver you have. I find leftover bobotie is great wrapped in the rotis I buy freshly made at Little Durban on Bronkhorst Street, Brooklyn (ie Pretoria not New York).


Greyscale Territory said...

I rarely enjoy reading recipes for food! Maybe it has something to do with the fact I have never really enjoyed cooking! But this dish sounds absolutely wonderful! I am surprised that it includes so many of my favourite foods including bananas!

Sweet Repose said...

I agree with Gemma, what a yummy dish...I'm not a breakfast person, but this morning you are making my tummy growl...I'll have to try this one, I love lamb!

Have a wonderful Autumn day and I'll enjoy the warmth and promise of Spring...been waitin' a long time for it!


SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Ooooh!! That does look lekker!! :) I do the same thing, make it and freeze the rest. It owrkd very well for me. I must try this recipe of yours Eleanor, sounds yummy!! Thanks.

Avril said...

Ooooh... Yummy!! I LOVE bobotie! Not a favourite dish for hubby which is surprising as he loves curried anything! Hence I have never made it! But I must, now that I have your recipe, and just surprise him. He says he doesn't like it as it's dry rather than a normal curry that has a 'gravy'.
We used to have served in the dining room at Anglo American when I worked there, donkey's years ago - I never missed a meal when that was served!!!

Vicki Lane said...

This sounds absolutely wonderful and I'll make it soon! The custardy topping makes me think of moussaka but the seasonings are entirely different. Thank you for the recipe!

willow said...

This looks absolutley heavenly, but what I really have my eye on is the hake and chips at the top of your sidebar!

Adel and Robyn Kadis said...

Thats exactly what we should have for lunch tomorrow, I miss SA food so much and my Egytian hubby loves Bobotie, except no raisins... Egyptians don't like fruit cooked with meat...! Strange people, I know! Thanks for the lekker recipe.

Sreddy Yen said...

Mmm...that looks delicious~! For all the time I've been in SA, I've never really known what bobotie is. Your post has been enlightening and I enjoyed reading it :O)


Anonymous said...

I wonder how this would be with chicken....

Raph G. Neckmann said...

This sounds gorgeous, Eleanor! We'd have to have it without the meat, but I'm sure it will be just as tasty with all the wonderful seasoning. Maybe we could put bananas in instead?

Poetikat said...

Hey Eleanor! I have actually made Bobotie before. I have an international cookbook with the recipe and it looked so tasty that I had to try it. It IS delicious! Now I'll have to make it again soon.


P.S. We don't eat meat, so I used ground soy burger, but it was still yummy.

Poetikat said...

Hi again! Forgot to say that I have an award for you at "Keepsakes".


Mary said...

Hi Eleanor - catching up and see I've missed lots of interesting posts. I would love to visit the tin place, what great recycling ideas - especially the school satchels!

This Bobotie dish sounds yummy - I too would have to up the nuts and make it vegetarian though. Would it work without the meat?

My trip to England was fabulous - Springtime was never so beautiful - hopefully I'll make it over again at that time of year, I loved every moment.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Your recipe has made my day.

Entertained 20 adults, half of whom are ex South African and the rest either Australian or English.

Had three dishes - Bobotie, Chicken Casserole and Beef Curry - the Bobotie disappeared quickly with the Poms and Aussies going back for seconds and thirds!!

My brother in law remarked to my brother that this was the best Bobotie he had ever brother was very taken he quite fancies his Bobotie as being "the one"!!

Your Bobotie recipe will be passed on to those here today and will soon be served in country New South Wales. Ann expects it will be an absolute hit!!!

Thanks for sharing your recipe with us!!!


John - Sydney, Australia

Anonymous said...

Hi ya... I'm singaporean and my husband is south african and introduced me to this dish and i have never looked back. Done it so many times and even introduced it to my australian colleague and they enjoyed it. :)

Love cape town, among other things like Mrs Ball's Chutney, Ouma & Nik Naks...

God Bless