South African Bobotie

This might be my last African post for a while, as my husband is getting tired of being a guinea pig. I on the other hand feel I have only begun to scratch the surface on this culturally rich and diverse continent.  My latest dish, South African Bobotie was inspired by two individuals, my friend Klaudia, who is South African and Alan Coxon, chef and “The Food Archeologist” who I’ve communicated with via LinkedIn. He attributes the diversity of South African cuisine to the various cultural influences, for example Cape Town is influenced by the Cape Malays and the Dutch, who arrived in South Africa from the shipping and slave roots.  Alan categorized Bobotie as a Cape Malays creation.

So, because of both Alan and Klaudia, my next meal was going to be South African Lamb Bobotie and I used Alan’s recipe. This was not the first time that I had prepared Bobotie.  Back in January 2009, Martha Stewart had featured a special section on casseroles, which seemed like the perfect winter food.  I had made all the casserole recipes, but this one I particularly remember because it was one of the last times Ness and Grant visited Kyustendil before returning to Perth. All I remember about Bobotie, was the unique use of dried apricots and apples with lamb and a custard-y topping.  The flavors were quite distinct, but Martha Stewart is in no way an authority on South African cuisine, but I appreciate the fact that she was the first to introduce me to this dish.

When I made this dish for dinner the flavors didn’t grab me right away.  All of the various ingredients seemed some what out of sync, but when I reheated it the next day for lunch, it was like a different meal.  Having rested overnight in the fridge had really help to assimilate the flavor and it was quite scrumptious.      I would suggest making this dish the day before, but not the topping and putting it in the refrigerator overnight.  Then reheat in the over for 10-15 minutes to take the chill out and add the topping and continue following the directions below.

1 kg minced lamb, I used about 500g.  I bought the lamb and ground the meat myself.
2 onions (finely diced) 
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 tspcurry powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 slices of bread (into crumbs), I used leftover MultiGrain Bread
60 ml milk
finely grated rind and juice of half lemon
1 egg
2 tblsp tamarind liquid, I used paste.
salt/pepper
100 g dried apricots (chopped)
1 granny smith’s apple (peeled, cored and chopped), I omited because none were available
60 gm sultanas (soaked)
50 g lightly crushed hazelnuts or flaked almonds (dry roasted)
2 bay leaves 

Ingredients for the Topping
250 ml (9 fl oz) milk
2 large fresh eggs
salt + butter for frying 

Ingredients for the Topping

250 ml (9 fl oz) milk
2 large fresh eggs 
salt+ butter for frying 
Method
  • Pre-heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3
  • Butter a large casserole
  • Heat a little butter in a pan and sweat off the onion for 4-5 minutes until translucent.
  • Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Add the curry powder and turmeric and stir, cook out for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add the meat, followed by all the remaining ingredients, and stir well until well amalgamated.
  • Place into the buttered casserole and press gently. Pile into the casserole and level the top
  • Cover with a tight fitting lid or with foil and bake for 1 and quarter hours.

Method for the Topping

  • Mix together the milk, eggs and salt.
  • Pour over the meat and bake for a further 20 minutes or until cooked and lightly browned
  • Alternatively, after the egg custard has set, place under a grill for 2-3 minutes to brown.
Serve with rice.


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Author: caseyangelova

Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria www.caseyangelova.com

20 thoughts on “South African Bobotie”

  1. what a great post! i love that you have some south african recipes, i feel like they don't get as much attention for some reason, even though the flavors are delicious. this looks phenomenal!

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  2. I havent tried any African dish yet. I love lamb so this will work for me. I recently discovered a resto here in our place that serves North, South, and Eastern African dishes. Will try to check it out when I have the time.

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  3. This is a very intriguing mix of flavors! It's kind of like a South African version of shepherd's pie, do you think? Sorry your husband isn't a more willing guinea pig!

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  4. I agree, Biren. My uncle was a wonderful cook but insisted most casseroles and spaghetti sauces had to 'marry' each other for at least twelve hours in the fridge before they tasted right. I've come to agree with him. Come visit when you can.

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  5. Casey I love that you cook all types of food. I have never tried African recipes but have always been curious. I am a big fan of lamb so I will have to try this someday!

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  6. Thanks Stella! I think I need to refresh my cookbooks and get some more African ones. Any suggestions?

    Cocina Savant – I find all African cuisines don't get enough attention. You rarely hear media mention it.

    Mhel – That restaurant sounds very cool! Where are you located?

    Biren – I love so many things next day, especially casseroles.

    Thanks Trix – I am going to have to work on him! You are right it is Shepard's Pie-esque, minus the potatoes.

    Sharlene, I like you description that they have to marry each other. Like a flavor congical visit in the fridge!!!

    Joy – African cuisine and I have become buddies. They are worth befriending!

    Sweetlife – I am going to organize a foodie event for Africa Day on May 25th! Everyone who participates shares an African recipe of their choice to post anytime on May 25th! I hope you take part!

    Thanks Gourmand, 5 Star and Penny! It is worth a try!

    Denise – My pleasure. I am a bit of a nerd, so food research is a great hobby of mine.

    Roxan – Casseroles are great because they are make ahead. Sometimes I just hate cooking after a long day.

    Klaud! XOXO

    Churchorion, He is a brat, but he ill have to endure one more day of African cuisine on May 25th!!!

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