A true Cape Town favourite

Bobotie is a South African dish which comes in many different variations and therefore there can be a huge difference in its flavors. You can get this traditional dish with fish, beef, venison or ostrich. One thing all these variations have in common: a spicy fruity taste with only a hint of curry.

Served with yellow rice and some green veggies, such as courgettes (zucchini), broccoli or green beans, it is just perfect for a typical South African dinner. Enjoy with medium sweet wine.

bootie by

The best bobotie I ever ate was prepared by a restaurant in Bo-Kaap. As the cooks changed and developped new dishes, I never experienced that fine taste again. After a lot of searching for this special recipe, I found the perfect taste.

I never thought I could get that distinct aromatic mix, but hey, it was just sooo delicious and simple enough for me to cook. You just have to try it out!

Ingredients for a typical South African bobotie

for 4 persons

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder
  • ½ tsp cardamon, chilli and coriander seeds mixed
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt, milled black pepper

Fry the onions in oil. Add curry powder, turmeric and spice mix, salt and pepper and fry another minute. Add in the mince and fry until browned but not dry.

Then add into the mince-mix:

  • 2 slices of white bread, some milk to soften bread, then mashed
  • 1 tsp tomato sauce/puree
  • 1 apple peeled, cored and grated
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp smooth apricot jam
  • Juice and zest of one unwaxed lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, pealed and crushed

Add all the ingredients into the mince and mix. Pour into an oven-proof baking dish and if you like it sweet, like me add the banana slices on top.

  • 2 bananas, sliced

Then make a custard mix of and pour on top of the mince mixture.

  • 200ml milk
  • 2 large eggs

Lay some flaked almonds or coconut flakes on top of the custard and some crushed lemon leaves or like in the traditional dish, bay leaves.

  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • Crushed lemon leaves or bay leaves
  • Coconut flakes

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 200ºC.

Serve with yellow riceBoil 250g white rice with half a tsp of turmeric, 6 cloves, 1tsp salt and 50g raisins in 650ml water.


Three restaurants serving a great Cape Malay Bobotie in Cape Town

  • Bismiellah: Lower Loop Street in the Bo-Kaap. Authentic Cape Malay food. No alcohol is served. Web.
  • Mama Africa: 178 Long Street. Viby African Food and Music experience. Closed on Sundays. Web.
  • Cellars-Hohenort: Constantia 93 Brommersvlei Road. Classic Cape Malay version in stunning setting. Web

Looking for more information on typical South African food?

Find more information on South African food: Traditional Food, Typical South African Favorites, Shopping Tips, Eating out and much more.

Order your copy of the Living in South Africa guidebook directly from us. 

Back to South African food 

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All text and pictures © 2008-2015 by Regina Graeff, 
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