Recipe For Babotie (Bobotie)

This recipe for Babotie comes from my Curry cook book. Babotie is a spiced minced meat baked with a savoury custard. According to the book, it was brought to South Africa by Southeast Asian slaves in the 17th Century. Babotie is a tribute to Cape Malay cooking styles and Islamic culinary influences. Boer settlers would bake their babotie in a hollowed out pumpkin. You can add sultanas, raisins or dried apricots to this babotie recipe to give it your own unique twist.

Babotie / Bobotie
Babotie is a traditional Cape Malay dish that usually contains sultanas
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for the mince
  • 2 slices white bread, crusts removed, roughly torn up
  • 125mls milk *
  • 30mls olive oil
  • 50g butter
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 600g lamb mince **
  • 12.5mls mild curry powder
  • 3.75mls ground cinnamon
  • Generous grind of black pepper
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 15mls mango atchar / chutney
  • 5mls demerara sugar - I used fructose
  • 15g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
for the savoury topping:
  • 6 bay leaves
  • Reserved milk *, plus extra to make it up to 100mls
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100mls cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • Ground nutmeg for sprinkling
for the mince
  1. Place the bread into a small bowl and add the milk
  2. Leave to stand while you prepare the mince
  3. Heat the oil in an stove and oven proof casserole dish over a medium temperature
  4. When hot add the butter and leave to melt
  5. Sauté the onions and chillies until the onions are soft and golden
  6. Add the garlic and mince and continue cooking until the mince is browned, stirring frequently
  7. Season with the spices, black pepper and lemon zest and cook for a further 5 minutes
  8. Squeeze the excess milk from the bread (*reserving the milk) and add the bread to the mince
  9. Stir well to break up any lumps
  10. Add the lemon juice, chutney, sugar and almonds and stir well
  11. Remove from the heat and allow to cool
  12. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
for the savoury topping:
  1. *** Place the bay leaves into the mince so that they stick out
  2. Whisk together the milk, eggs and cream
  3. Season generously before pouring the mixture over the mince
  4. Sprinkle the top with ground nutmeg
  5. Set the dish into a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan halfway with hot water
  6. Bake for 35 minutes until the top is set
  7. Serve with boiled rice, baked sweet potato, or in a hollowed out bread roll
My Notes
** use beef mince if you cannot get lamb mince
*** at this stage you could transfer the mince to an oven proof dish but I prefer to bake it in the casserole dish


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13 thoughts on “Recipe For Babotie (Bobotie)

  1. Wow… just found the link for this recipe over at Celia’s Fig Jam and Lime Cordial blog. I’ve never heard of this savoury mince dish but I am going to give it a go tonight!! My husband’s best friend has a South African girlfriend so I am slowly learning about traditional dishes from her. She tends to bring a bag of biltong everywhere, possibly to hold on to her homeland in the Australian sunshine! I think she’d love coming over our house to eat this! Thanks Tandy x

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    1. Oh, please let me know what she thinks! Us South Africans cannot get enough of our biltong 🙂

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  2. Made this tonight and was very impressed, reckon it would be great as leftovers on toast too. Really good wintry, comfort food! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you so much for the compliment and for letting me know 🙂

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  3. Interesting.
    Living in another country, I am often asked about South-African food.

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    1. Babotie is so South African!

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  4. I agree – a nice curry bite is essential for a good bobotie. Also love the dried fruit in it – raisins or apricots. Works with that whole sweet & sour effect.

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    1. I cannot do cooked, soft, dried fruit for some reason so I leave it out.

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  5. I’m having Scottish people for supper soon, maybe I’ll make this for them.

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    1. they should enjoy it 🙂

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