Do you know what is Bobotie?

This blog is for all those interested in the South African traditional dish Bobotie. The recipe and cooking techniques are discussed, along with tips and tricks on making it perfect and delicious every time.

The origin of the word Bobotie is contentious. The Afrikaans etymological dictionary claims the probable origin is the Malayan word boemboe, which means curry spices. Others think it originated from Bobotok, an Indonesian dish containing different ingredients. The first recipe for Bobotie appeared in a Dutch cookbook in 1609. Afterwards, it was taken to South Africa and adopted by the Cape Malay community.

To explain it to many foreign visitors: South African original Bobotie is very similar to meatloaf, only better. Slightly sweet curry flavours ground beef with fruits like sultanas; the sweetness of sultanas contrasts with the dish’s spiciness. This dish is covered with milk and egg custard topping. It’s delicious!

Bobotie is often considered one of South Africa’s national dishes. 

At Le Pommier Restaurant, Bobotie is one of our specialities, and it is a favourite dish of many of our diners, South Africans and international visitors alike!

Bobotie is easy to prepare in advance and is always a crowd-pleaser, so here is the Le Pommier recipe for traditional South African Bobotie.



This recipe serves 4.


2 onions finely chopped

1 tablespoon of oil for frying

500g Lean Beef Mince

1 teaspoon Tomato Paste

1 teaspoon Turmeric powder

1 tablespoon Mild Curry Powder

1 teaspoon Mixed Spice

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 teaspoon Ground Ginger

1 whole Star Anise

1 teaspoon salt and milled black pepper

4 Bay Leaves

2 tablespoons Apricot Jam

2 tablespoons Mrs Balls Chutney (Mild)

2 tablespoons Raisins

1 Green Apple peeled, cored and grated

2 slices of white bread softened with 50 ml of milk – squeeze the excess milk out

250ml Milk

2 large eggs


Fry the onions in oil. Add curry powder, turmeric and spice mix, salt and pepper and fry for another minute.

Add in the mince and fry until browned but not dry.

Add all the ingredients except bay leaves, eggs and milk into the mince and mix.

Pour into an oven-proof baking dish.

Mix the remaining milk and whisked eggs to make a custard mix and pour on the mince mixture.

Press bay leaves on top of the custard mix.

Bake at 180 C for 45 minutes or until the topping is golden and set.

Serve with yellow rice and raisins.

This recipe is complemented by Le Pommier Rosé a perfect match!

Popular Bobotie Variations

The Argentinean Boer settlers prepare a popular variant in which the bobotie meat mixture is stuffed inside a giant pumpkin and then baked till tender.

Exchange the meat with lentils for a lovely vegetarian version.

Lentil Bobotie

South African Bobotie is a great make-ahead meal for Meal Prep Sunday. The longer the flavours have to mingle, the more delicious it is. You will want to refrigerate your leftovers for up to 3 days and then can freeze up to 2 months in a freezer-safe container and then just heat in the microwave and eat.

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