Recipe for Cape Malay Bobotie

Pronounced “babooty,” bobotie is traditional fare in the Western Cape province of South Africa. This recipe is a unique and wonderfully spicy way to prepare ground meat.

[Credit: iStockphoto.com/Lauri Patterson]
Credit: iStockphoto.com/Lauri Patterson

Yield: 6 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours

Spice meter: Moderately spiced

3 slices white bread, torn into pieces

1/2 cup milk, heated

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 medium onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons homemade good-quality curry powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1-3/4 pounds lean ground beef

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup raisins

2 tablespoons apricot jam or mango chutney

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 eggs

2 bay leaves, broken in half

1 cup milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

  2. Put the bread in a small bowl and pour the milk over it, then set aside.

  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep, medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes.

    Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Add the curry powder, turmeric, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.

  4. In a large bowl, combine the bread, onion-spice mixture, ground beef, lemon juice, raisins, apricot jam, brown sugar, and 1 egg. Using your hands, mix well.

  5. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bury the bay leaves in the meat mixture at even intervals. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the mixture is firm, about 45 to 55 minutes.

  6. In a liquid measuring cup, lightly beat the milk, the remaining 2 eggs, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

  7. Take the bobotie from the oven. Remove the aluminum foil and pour the topping from Step 6 on top of the partially baked bobotie.

  8. Return the bobotie to the oven and bake, uncovered, on the middle rack of the oven until the topping is set and lightly browned, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 470 (From Fat 215); Fat 24g (Saturated 8g); Cholesterol 202mg; Sodium 611mg; Carbohydrate 31g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 33g.

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