Bobotie (South African Meatloaf)

fruity, curried meat with an eggy topping - those wacky South Africans

fruity, curried meat with an eggy topping – those wacky South Africans

Fun fact: I missed my graduation from university because I was in South Africa.

By that stage I’d had about as much as I could stomach of academia so the minute I handed in my dissertation, I ran off to Cape Town.

It turned into a three-month long trip, and one of the best experiences of my life.

by this stage it should be smelling very fragrant

by this stage it should be smelling very fragrant

There’s something about South Africa that gets under your skin. It was so tranformative that I haven’t been back. You know those trips that are so good, you’re worried that any return to the same place would somehow despoil your amazing memories?

Well that’s how I feel about Cape Town.

usually served with sambal - a spicy, tangy sauce

usually served with sambal – a spicy, tangy sauce

One of my big regrets though is that I was in South Africa during my vegetarian phase. I never tried any of the meaty local delights such as ostrich burgers or this meatloaf (which is considered by some to be their local dish).

in the 17th century, bobotie was made with mutton and pork (thank you wikipedia!)

in the 17th century, bobotie was made with mutton and pork (thank you wikipedia!)

More fool me, because this stuff is amazing. I admit, I was a little unsure about the blend of sweet (raisins, apples?!) and savoury (meat, eggs?!) but it works. It definitely works.

In fact, it’s almost good enough to tempt me back. Almost.

Bobotie (serves 4-6)

*adapted from Epicurious

  • 1 lb minced beef
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1 large, white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (or almond flour)
  • 1 granny smith (or other tart, green) apple, cored, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 5 large eggs
  1. Heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric and curry powder. Gently fry for a few minutes until the onions colour.
  2. Transfer onions to a large mixing bowl and add the apples, raisins, lemon juice and zest, almonds, one egg and the beef. Stir well until thoroughly combined.
  3. Press into a large, greased casserole dish. Cover. Bake at 325 for 1 hour.
  4. Whisk together 4 eggs and season well. Remove the casserole from the oven and pour the eggs over the top. Return to the oven (turning the heat up to 400), uncover and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately.

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20 thoughts on “Bobotie (South African Meatloaf)

  1. Couple of suggestions (though not all together authentic) — Try 1 tbl Thai curry paste vs the curry powder (I’d suggest yellow or masamun, red if you are crazy for the heat). Also, substitute dried cranberries for the raisins.

    One of the cool things about bobotie is that there are so many variations — for most folks it’s a “whatever is in the kitchen, as long as there is balance between heat and sweet”.

  2. This intrigued me so much it is on the menu for tonight, I am using venison since that is the only ground meat we have on hand. Looking forward to the aromas, and of course flavors! Thanks for sharing such a unique dish.

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  5. Thank you for paleoizing this! I found a recipe on Epicurious when I searched on “ground lamb” and a couple other ingredients I had on hand. I haven’t made it since I went paleo because it had bread crumbs in it. The other recipe also had you roll up a few lime leaves and stick them in at random intervals. That ups the weird factor but so good.

  6. Thank you for paleoizing this! I found a recipe on Epicurious when I searched on “ground lamb” and a couple other ingredients I had on hand. I haven’t made it since I went paleo because it had bread crumbs in it. The other recipe also had you roll up a few lime leaves and stick them in at random intervals. That ups the weird factor but so good.

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  8. Grew up on this stuff – not weird at all. Typically put together from leftovers. Never had apple or that much almond in it. The root of this is Malaysian.DO NOT change up the (yellow) curry – that causes the unique taste.Keep the leftovers – I believe the taste improves for a few days. Serve on a bed of rice – okay, cauliflower rice will do :-)

  9. Hi everyone! I live in Cape Town and babotie is standard favorite we enjoy regularly! The rasin & curry version on cauliflower rice is so good – an absolute must try! Happy eating and God bless!

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