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(149 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 onions, chopped



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

  • 25g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

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



    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 leaves

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 eggs


  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, questions and tips

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3rd Aug, 2013
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!
10th Jun, 2013
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!
10th Mar, 2013
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
4th Feb, 2013
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!
26th Jan, 2013
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.
7th Jan, 2013
May not look all that special but tasted delicious - lovely comfort food for a cold night!
13th Nov, 2012
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...! :)
30th Oct, 2012
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. :(
6th Oct, 2012
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
5th Sep, 2012
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.


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