Prep: 30 mins Cook: 40 mins


Serves 6
Pronounced ba-boor-tea, the national dish of South Africa is a delicious mixture of curried meat and fruit with a creamy golden topping, not dissimilar to moussaka

Nutrition and extra info

  • Easily halved

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal386
  • fat16g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs20g
  • sugars13g
  • fibre1g
  • protein43g
  • salt0.97g
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  • 2 slices white bread
  • 2 onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 25g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1kg packet lean minced beef
  • 2 tbsp Madras curry paste
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 3 clove



    The dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a wide variety…

  • 5 allspice berries
  • 2 tbsp peach or mango chutney
  • 3 tbsp sultana
  • 6 bay leaf

For the topping

  • 300ml full-cream milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 2 large egg


  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Pour cold water over the bread and set aside to soak.

  2. Meanwhile, fry the onions in the butter, stirring regularly for 10 mins until they are soft and starting to colour. Add the garlic and beef and stir well, crushing the mince into fine grains until it changes colour. Stir in the curry paste, herbs, spices, chutney, sultanas and 2 of the bay leaves with 1 tsp salt and plenty of ground black pepper.

  3. Cover and simmer for 10 mins. Squeeze the water from the bread, then beat into the meat mixture until well blended. Tip into an oval ovenproof dish (23 x 33cm and about 5-6cm deep). Press the mixture down well and smooth the top. You can make this and chill 1 day ahead.

  4. For the topping, beat the milk and eggs with seasoning, then pour over the meat. Top with the remaining bay leaves and bake for 35-40 mins until the topping is set and starting to turn golden.

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Comments (162)

samisweetheart12's picture

I've made this dish twice now after falling in love with all things South African on my honeymoon. The first was for my husband and mum, who "doesn't like" half of the ingredients- and she absolutely loved it! (As did my husband and I, but we are easier to please!) I halved all the ingredients and it worked wonderfully, the only thing was I was following the instructions to the T and it doesn't tell you to take out the bay leaves and cloves, which led to a particularly untasty surprise! So I've just made it again and look them out before adding the bread. It's one of the strangest things I'very ever made but so, so tasty! Sweet but spicy and homely! Because you can make the first part in advance it makes it ideal for an unique dinner party dish and I will certainly be making it for friends in the future! Best served with some South African wine and an Amarula Don Pedro for dessert!

MeganMason's picture

I made this dish for a few friends for lunch today and I have to say it was fantastic. The flavours were delicious and it was a definite hit with everyone. I only used 500g of mince but I stuck to the amounts in the recipe for the rest of the ingredients and it worked perfectly. I served it with Yellow Rice and Kashmir Chilli Mango Chutney. This is a very filling meal. Will most certainly be making this again.

lesley1142's picture

Daughter made this as part of her homework on African cuisine. It was absolutely fantastic! We all enjoyed it, however daughter and hubby disliked the texture of the soaked bread so I'd miss it out next time. Other daughter didn't like the egg topping but it meant more for me ;) Flavours were lovely, not too spicy. We used raisins instead of sultanas, we aren't big fans of them but they went down a storm. Served it with the Yellow Rice recipe on here and crusty bread. It's a keeper!

PHinch94's picture

I've made this many times, along with the yellow rice, and it is a firm family favourite. The best main meal we've had from Good Food barring none.

I serve it with homemade chapatis, which along with the yellow rice can be made whilst the bobotie is in the oven.

wiimarg's picture

Made this as part of a "Bokker Buffet" to eat post Wales v South Africa game last Saturday. Easy to make and very positive feedback from guests - which is far better than the feedback for the result of the game - lots of sad Welsh rugby fans. Needed lots of beer and wine to console the guys. I will definitely make this again - I followed the recipe faithfully - yes it was a tad sweet, but very tasty.

x-x-x-faerie-x-x-x's picture

I thought this was a nice dish, I really enjoyed it, however my son and husband didn't, so only 4 stars.

rahrah86's picture

Kicking myself for following the recipe with regard to the salt-1 tsp of salt is far far too much.

ajctracey's picture

This is delicious. I serve this with rice and mango chutney.

fairybelle's picture

Loved this! Added lemon juice & zest as per suggestions, also used creme fraiche instead of milk. Never had anything like this before but both myself & my unadventurous husband enjoyed this & I will be cooking it again.served with the delicious yellow rice & tomato salad

MrsVR's picture

South African Bobotie by Nicholas M
Large casserole or small casserole dishes
Frying pan
Wooden spoon
Measuring cups and spoons

500g minced beef
1/2 slice bread
250 ml milk
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup seedless raisins
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
2T apricot jam
2T Mrs Balls chutney
1 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 tsp oil
3 eggs
4 bay leaves
1 cup rice
Curry leaves and sliced almonds for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
2. Soak bread in 125 ml milk, squeeze dry and mix with minced beef.
3. Mix in all other ingredients except remaining milk, oil, eggs and bay leaves.
4. Heat oil in a frying pan and brown meat mixture really well, stirring frequently.
5. Place mixture into small casserole dishes.
6. Lightly beat eggs and then add 125 ml milk and beat well. Pour about 2 spoonfuls over meat in casserole dishes. Garnish with bay leaves and bake for 25 to 30 minutes for small individual boboties. The topping should be set and golden brown.
7. Rinse rice well and place rice in a large pan. Cover with cold water. Add salt, stir and bring to the boil (should take about 5 minutes for the water to boil). Once it reaches a strong boil, turn down and simmer for 12-13 minutes (taste the rice at 12 minutes to see if it is cooked). Remove from heat, drain and fluff with a fork. Cover and stand.
8. Prepare the plate with rice and chutney and then take the bobotie out of the oven at the last minute. Garnish rice with curry leaves.

This recipe of a Y5 boy in my husband's school is the most delicious. We tried the BBC's and it was not the same as we used to have 'back home'. The spices isn't great to be honest. Nicholas made this and went through to the semi-final round for a cooking competition at his school in Bucks. He missed the finals due to his timings. With this recipe he is definitely my Top Cook! I think there must be some South African blood running through his veins. Thank you, Nicholas! I really enjoyed your Bobotie!

mrs full's picture

I made this for my daughters homework as she needed to cook a African recipe.
This turned out very tasty i did not put in cloves and all spice berries as i don't like them but followed every thing else it was very flavoursome.
I served it with home-made coleslaw it was delicious.

vinegartea's picture

Made the vegetarian version with textured soy protein. Excellent.

Jenneil1's picture

This recipe is excellent. Wasn't sure at first but was lovely. Making again tonight using lamb mince also serving the tomato and onion salad and yellow rice. Also making the spicy African chicken stew which is also awesome!

susanwhite3's picture

Really easy and tasty recipe. I used half fat creme fraiche instead of cream in the topping and it was really delicious. Served with salad for a good healthy meal. Will definitely make this again!

heathen83's picture

use lamb mince rather than beef and also add zest and juice of 1 lemon,1 tablespoon of brown sugar and a few chillies, serve with roasted sweet potato

fairystoryteller's picture

Used this recipe this evening because I have lost the one my mum used to use. Really good. However I remembered my mother used to add lemon juice and flaked almonds so I added these. Used the crusts from a loaf of wholemeal bread and missed out the all spice berries, herbs and cloves. Was till gorgeous and enjoyed by all!

sjjvdberg's picture

In South Africa it's common to use fresh lemon leaves rather than bay leaves because fresh bay leaves are not always easily obtainable and dried bay leaves are usually tasteless. Lemon leaves impart a very pleasant and unique flavour.

I have used Fry's vegetarian mince instead of meat, and the results were very satisfactory.

calamity_janet's picture

May not look all that special but tasted delicious - lovely comfort food for a cold night!

jodydeacon's picture

So lovely to make, even lovelier to eat! The house smells delicious and even the unadventurous husband ate a good sized portion. Our two year old wolfed it down!! I made a banana chutney to accompany it, and served with a dollop of natural yoghurt. I will certainly be making this again...and again....and again...! :)

motherinferior's picture

I love discovering new dishes and so wanted to like this but I was bitterly disappointed with the result. The custard topping just didn't seem to go with the mince. The mince was interesting but a little too sweet and spicy, rather like a sweet mince pie. I would try tweaking the mince recipe to tone down the sweetness but the rest of the family absolutely hated it so I probably won't bother. Sorry. :(


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