South Africa Recipes Recipes from South Africa South African Cuisine

Bobotie (Baked Ground Lamb Curry Casserole)

Bobotie is a South African dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. The recipe probably originates from the Dutch East India Company colonies in Batavia, with the name derived from the Indonesian Bobotok. It is also made with curry powder leaving it with a slight “tang”.


  • 1 slice homemade-type white bread, 3cm thick, broken into small bits

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1kg coarsely ground lean lamb

  • 1½ cups finely chopped onions

  • 2 tablespoons curry powder

  • 1 tablespoon light-brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ cup strained fresh lemon juice

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 medium-sized tart cooking apple,

  •    peeled, cored and finely grated

  • ½ cup seedless raisins

  • ¼ cup blanched almonds, coarsely chopped

  • 4 small fresh lemon or orange leaves or substitute 4 small bay leaves


  1.  Preheat the oven to 150°C.

  2. Combine the bread and milk in a small bowl and let the bread soak for at least 10 minutes. 

  3. Meanwhile, in a heavy 25 to 30cm skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam begins to subside, add the lamb and cook it, stirring constantly and mashing any lumps with the back of a spoon, until the meat separates into granules and no traces of pink remain. With a slotted spoon transfer the lamb to a deep bowl.

  4. Pour off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet and drop in the onions. Stirring frequently, cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown. Watch carefully for any sign of burning and regulate the heat accordingly.

  5. Add the curry powder, sugar, salt and pepper, and stir for 1 or 2 minutes. Then stir in the lemon juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour the entire mixture into the bowl of lamb.

  6. Drain the bread in a sieve set over a bowl and squeeze the bread completely dry. Reserve the drained milk.

  7.  Add the bread, 1 of the eggs, the apple, raisins and almonds to the lamb. Knead vigorously with both hands or beat with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well combined. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.

  8. Pack the lamb mixture loosely into a 3-quart soufflé dish or other deep 3-quart baking dish, smoothing the top with a spatula. Tuck the lemon, orange or bay leaves beneath the surface of the meat. 

  9. With a wire whisk or rotary beater, beat the remaining 2 eggs with the reserved milk for about 1 minute or until they froth.

  10.  Slowly pour the mixture evenly over the meat and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the surface becomes brown and firm to the touch.

  11. Serve at once, directly from the baking dish.

Comments are closed.