South African Bobotie is a mildly curried and spicy mince casserole with an egg custard topping that is traditionally served with fragrant yellow rice. Some of the ingredients might sound a little crazy if you are not from here, but it’s utterly delicious.
Traditional bobotie recipe Serves: 4 to 6
3 slices of bread
1 cup + ½ cup milk, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, roughly chopped
4 teaspoons medium curry powder
1 teaspoon dried herbs (whatever you’ve got around – oregano, basil, marjoram, etc.)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1½ pound ground beef
½ cup fruit chutney
1 tablespoon apricot jam
Zest and juice of one medium lemon, divided
4 teaspoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper
2 large eggs
4 bay leaves
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Soak the bread in 1 cup of the milk.
Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet set over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, and cook until soft.
Add the curry powder, mixed herbs, cumin, turmeric, and garlic, and stirring constantly, allow to cook for a minute or two until the garlic is soft.
Add the ground beef, and cook, stirring frequently to break up any big chunks, until browned.
Once the beef is browned, remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the chutney, apricot jam, all the lemon zest, half the lemon juice, tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, give it a taste, and add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper as desired. It should be delightfully zingy!
Squeeze the milk from the bread, reserving the milk for later, and smooshing and tearing the bread into small pieces. Mix the bread into the beef mixture, and spread evenly into an ovenproof dish.
Strain the milk that has come from the bread, and add the remaining ½ cup of milk. Beat in the eggs, and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Pour this over the meat, and decoratively scatter the bay leaves on top.
Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
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