Babotie | Bobotie A Traditional Recipe

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.

Print Recipe
0 from 0 votes

Babotie / Bobotie

Babotie is a traditional Cape Malay dish that usually contains sultanas
Recipe Category: Main Course
All Rights Reserved: Adapted from Curry page 306


for the mince

  • 2 slices white bread crusts removed, roughly torn up
  • 125 mls milk *
  • 30 mls olive oil
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 onions roughly chopped
  • 2 red chillies deseeded and chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 600 g lamb mince **
  • 12.5 mls mild curry powder
  • 3.75 mls ground cinnamon
  • Generous grind of black pepper
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 15 mls mango atchar / chutney
  • 5 mls fructose
  • 15 g blanched almonds roughly chopped

for the savoury topping:

  • 6 bay leaves
  • Reserved milk * plus extra to make it up to 100mls
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100 mls cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • Ground nutmeg for sprinkling


for the mince

  • Place the bread into a small bowl and add the milk
  • Leave to stand while you prepare the mince
  • Heat the oil in an stove and oven proof casserole dish over a medium temperature
  • When hot add the butter and leave to melt
  • Sauté the onions and chillies until the onions are soft and golden
  • Add the garlic and mince and continue cooking until the mince is browned, stirring frequently
  • Season with the spices, black pepper and lemon zest and cook for a further 5 minutes
  • Squeeze the excess milk from the bread (*reserving the milk) and add the bread to the mince
  • Stir well to break up any lumps
  • Add the lemon juice, chutney, sugar and almonds and stir well
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool
  • Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius

for the savoury topping:

  • *** Place the bay leaves into the mince so that they stick out
  • Whisk together the milk, eggs and cream
  • Season generously before pouring the mixture over the mince
  • Sprinkle the top with ground nutmeg
  • Set the dish into a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan halfway with hot water
  • Bake for 35 minutes until the top is set
  • Serve with boiled rice, baked sweet potato, or in a hollowed out bread roll


** 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


Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Lavender and Lime Signature

Top of Page

15 thoughts on “Babotie | Bobotie A Traditional Recipe

  1. 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.

  2. Pingback: In My Kitchen | Lavender and Lime
  3. 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.

  4. 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

I would ♥ to hear from you (comments will be visible when I reply)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.