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(119 ratings)

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)

hughol's picture

I minced up leftover roast beef to make this and also added the leftover gravy as I thought it looked a bit stodgy. It was tasty but I wasn't mad keen on the texture. Doubt that I'd make this one again. The yellow rice was, however, delicious.

jburton's picture

Thinking of making this on the weekend, this time plan is:
To serve two... cut a marrow in half horizontally scoop it out, fill with the babotie and top with the egg topping, cover with foil and cook for 40mins uncover and continue cooking for 20mins and serve... wonder if this would work.

embles's picture

Would be tempted to add some courgette or pepper to this to pad it out and make it a bit healthier, but actually it's lovely as it is with a large salad and some yellow rice.
Will become a standard family meal.

fluffysammy's picture

This is one of my all time fav meals, i found it in a good food mag i think 19 years ago and have cooked it since, although the original one had sliced banana ontop of the mince and under the topping, which just makes it mega yummy

mimijane's picture

I first tried this in a pub years ago and recently found this recipe, hoping to replicate the original. I made it with minced quorn for a veggie/lower fat version and it turned out very well. If you make it with Quorn, best to add some water to the mince as it absorbs liquid so quickly and there is little of that in this recipe. Quorn also freezes very well and my family have difficulty in telling the difference between this and mince beef. It is a very rich and fairly sweet dish, but the flavours are wonderful. I was wondering about adding the soaked bread and thought it may make it a little "lumpy", but no problem there, it mixed in really well. I used a mango and apricot chutney and a teaspoon of Allspice (instead of the berries. Personally, I would just serve it with a crisp salad with a lemon/citrus dressing as it is such a substantial dish.

dinewithme's picture

Made this the other day and will be making again. a meat loaf with a difference.Fab dish. Used low fat creme fraige (sorry, not sure about the spelling) instead of full fat milk which give it a nice topping and added a pinch of cinnamon which added a lovely flavour. Made the Apricot Blatjang as suggested on here which is well worth cooking as it tasted great and will keep in glass jar for ages.

ticklesmummyoftwo's picture

Made this yesterday for dinner & its so tasty!!! Only alterations I made were to use a wholemeal bap, tikka paste & some allspice powder rather than berries. Not sure if i was supposed to but I also ALWAYS drain my mince once fried to remove as much excess fat as possible.
My two children (5yrs & 3yrs) had it with some oven baked potato wedges & broccoli & I had clear plates (one of which is a fussy eater!!) My eldest even actually asked for more rather than her pudding!!!!
Myself & my husband had ours with boiled rice & the cucumber & onion salad thingy - all went really well with each other.
I will definatly be making this dish again, love the flavours & the fact its something slightly different yet so quick & simple to make!!!

kypnut's picture

Don't know what happened but the topping was like scrambled egg that wouldn't set, although the meat was ok. May have another go at this and see if i do better. this is the only thing from this site that we haven't really liked and i use this site a lot.

chris122652's picture

I followed the recipe quite closely, just used cream instead of milk for the topping, and it turned out really well. We entertained a south African friend, and she absolutely loved it. She suggested adding shredded carrots and apples, so we'll try that next time. Thanks very much for sharing this.
Chris in Victoria Canada

pumphrey09's picture

This is a brilliant recipe that I've cooked on many occasions. I usually put mixed spice in, rather than all the separate spices. Jooles - I always make more than I need and simply put it in a container in the freezer. All you then need to do is defrost it, put the topping on and bake!

jburton's picture

I wonder if this could be frozen, if I put it in freezer (wrapped well) at the point of putting on the topping, I would put that on when it goes in the oven and will of course make sure the meat hasn't been previously frozen.
I have made this dish before and its lush, I want to make it again this weekend and would like to freeze some too...??

fluffysammy's picture

I love this, im not sure where i made mine from originally but i use longways sliced bananas over the top and its sooooo yummy

susan_lily's picture

Bobotie is now a family favourite. Not like anything I have tasted before, a gorgeous rich flavour. Lovely with the yellow rice. Will make next time we have friends over too as so easy to make.

happydays95's picture

Lovely, have made this several times, each time a winner.

rationingrevisited's picture

YUM! dying to try this recipe... havent had Bobotie since i was a kid. My mother used to make it often.

julietulip's picture

I was surprised by how nice this is! Tweaked it slightly to use stuff I had in ... so I swapped mango chutney for leftover cranberry sauce. Ground allspice instead of berries. Natural yoghurt instead of milk. It all worked out fine. I made one with beef for hubs and one with quorn for me. The veggie one needed a bit of liquid adding ... but handily I had a bottle of red open so added a generous splash of that. Hey Presto ...yum. Yellow rice very easy and nice with it!

laurenneeson's picture

Wow this is delicious! My husband cooked this for my birthday dinner and when I first read the recipe I was dubious but when i tasted it I was blown away. It is such an authentic and flavoursome dish. It goes perfect with the yellow rice recipe. Someone very usefully pointed out that you can buy "Mrs Balls Chutney" in Tesco which we did, and it really complimented the dish. We will definately be making this again!

slavnist's picture

Great dish, however, I found that for 1Kg of mince then 4 medium eggs and 400ml of milk was needed for the topping.

Druunica89's picture

I followed the recipe completely, and the outcome was amazing! So tasty, spicy and filling, plus low in fat and pretty healthy and easy to make. Yellow rice and apricot blatjang were great accompaniments. Will make again definitely!

rachaelcoar's picture

Delicious! Easy to make beofre hand too so can just pop in oven, made with the rice also yummy. bf said one of most tasty things had for tea


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