Bobotie and a Couple of Cape Wines

Posted By Stephen


I’ve lived in London for a number of years now, but I was born in Cape Town in South Africa and lived there until I was 25. Last Wednesday, someone asked me how long it was since I’d moved away from South Africa, and I worked it out – it was ten years and one day. So having reached the ten year mark, it seemed like I should do something to mark the occasion. Also, having St George’s day last week to meant that we planned an English-South African crossover weekend – more on that tomorrow.

So today we cooked bobotie, which is a traditional dish from the Cape, which originated from the Cape Malay community. It’s hard to explain what it is, but to break it down objectively it is a dish of curried minced lamb topped with an eggy sauce (aka savoury custard). I remember my mum cooking a fish version and a lentil version, but I don’t remember when I last had a traditional lamb version and I don’t remember ever having cooked it myself. This recipe is one that my sister sent to Kerri recently, and it worked out rather well:

450g lamb mince
1tbsp oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp curry powder / paste
1tbsp garam masala
2 slices white bread, crusts removed and soaked in milk
1 apple, peeled, cored, finely chopped
1tbsp mango or peach chutney
Salt and pepper
1 chilli, finely chopped
2tbsp cider vinegar
1tsp lemon juice
1tspbrown sugar
1 bay leaf
2 eggs
200ml milk

Heat oil in large pan and cook onion, garlic and spices for 3 mins. Add mince and cook for further 3 minutes.

Add bread, which will fall to pieces as you stir it in and all the other ingredients except for the egg and milk. Cook for a few more minutes, then put into a large casserole dish.

Beat the eggs slightly, then add to the milk and pour over the mince.

Place the dish uncovered in a preheated oven at 170degrees for 30 รขโ‚ฌโ€œ 40 minutes.

Served with some rice and some chutney. In South Africa, dishes like this are often served with accompaniments called “sambals” which would include chutney but also simple things such as grated coconut or sliced banana, or relishes made from tomatoes, onions, etc.

We drank a couple of South African wines before, during and after eating it. The first was Chamonix Blanc, which is a white blend which curiously was stoppered with a glass stopper:


And then a Boekenhoutskloof Semillon, which was rather good and had a really brilliant label depicting some old fashioned Cape chairs. The label was a bit rough around the edges as if it was a picture that had been clipped from an old book or magazine:


Apr 25th, 2009

One Comment to 'Bobotie and a Couple of Cape Wines'

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  1. Jeanne said,

    I think it may have been ME who asked yuo recently how long you’ve been here ๐Ÿ˜‰ So can I take credit for sowing the little acorn that grew into the mightly oak of bobotie?? Yours looks fab. I used to hate it a a kid but now it’s one of my favourites. Love the Boekenhoutskloof label!

    Jeanne’s last blog post..Chickpea & paprika crostini

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