Bobotie: South African Meat Pie

Food & Drink
April 26, 2010 8:00 am

Unlike my dad’s secret Monster Burger recipe (which he won’t even send me via email because “the Internet is too easily hacked”), my mom’s updated South African bobotie recipe is one to share.

bobotie, recipe, South Africa, Cape Malay

My dad is South African. My mom is a Wisconsinite. When she wanted to surprise him one night, she picked a recipe from South African Gourmet Food and Wine by Myrna Rosen and Leslie Loon, a cookbook my dad’s mother (South African to the core) swears by. But when my dad saw the bobotie she made, he had no idea what it was. He’s from Johannesburg, and this is a dish typical of the Cape Malays, who live closer to Cape Town on the Western coast. Since this fortunate mistake, bobotie has become a family favorite and we’ve tweaked the recipe over the years.

Bobotie is a South African meatloaf, to put it shortly. It’s fruity and moist and goes well with a side of rice pilaf. You can easily update this recipe to fit your own tastes. Play with the proportions of the fruit, spices and nuts, but don’t mess with the custard, bread and meat amounts, which hold the juicy dish together.

My mom teaches a quick lesson in making bobotie

Karen’s South African Bobotie

1 1/2 lb ground sirloin
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
2 slices bread, soaked in milk and squeezed out
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
dash pepper
handful chopped blanched almonds
1 tart apple, peeled and grated
1/4 c raisins
2 tbsp apricot jam
1/4 c dried cranberries
1 banana, sliced
4 tbsp fruit chutney, with extra to garnish

Heat oil in large frying pan and add onions, garlic and saute until golden brown over low heat. Add meat and cook until nicely browned and no longer pink. Remove from heat and add all remaining ingredients including soaked bread. Place mixture in a greased pie pan or ovenware dish.


1 c milk (or 1/2 c milk and 1/2 c cream)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 larg eggs
1 tbsp brandy
1/2 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves

Whisk custard ingredients together except bay leaves and pour over the beef mixture. Arrange the bay leaves in the center of the meat pie.

Bake at 350 F for approximately 50 minutes. Cool five minutes or so before cutting and serve with any fruit chutney.

Tara for TKGO

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  • Yum!! That looks fantastic! I really liked the TKGO original video. 🙂

  • Karen makes her TKGO debut! Fabulous! Knowing your mom’s kitchen skills, I’m very excited to try to the Kalmanson bobotie!!

  • YESSS BOBOTIE!!! love Karen’s video 😉

  • I love trying exotic interpretations of the humble American meatloaf! The melange of spices sounds delicious – tumeric, curry, ginger, oh my! – and I’ll bet the fruit elements (jam, chutney, banana) lend both the moistness that meatloaf often lacks and a complexity of flavors. I plan to make my first Bobotie in a bundt. Can’t wait.

  • This video is even better than watching the food network and I hate to admit it, but it’s all I watch! I love it! Keep em coming TKGO!

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