Thursday, January 13, 2022

South African Bobotie (Beef Curry Casserole)


Bobotie, a national dish of South Africa, is a beef curry casserole filled with fragrant spiced beef and topped with an eggy custard layer. It's like shepherd's pie got a serious flavor makeover!

PREP TIME10 minutes
COOK TIME55 minutes
TOTAL TIME1 hour 5 minutes


For the beef mixture

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp grated (fresh) ginger (or ¼ tsp ground dry)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 3 cloves (whole)
  • 1.25 lbs (600g) ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp Mrs balls chutney (or other peach and/or apricot chutney)
  • ¼ c (50g) raisins
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 2 slices white crustless bread, soaked in milk (as needed to moisten)

For the custard topping

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup (125ml) milk
  • 2 Tbsp double cream (or heavy cream) (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sliced almonds, to sprinkle on top
  • 3 bay leaves, citrus leaves, to top


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (170 C).
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Fry the onions, garlic and ginger in the butter until soft and golden brown. Add the spices, the ground beef, vinegar, Worcester sauce, chutney, raisins and stock cube. When the beef has browned, add the pre-soaked bread and work it into the mixture.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and bake, covered, in the oven for 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, beat the egg, milk and turmeric to make the savoury custard mix. Add cream, if desired, for an extra rich custard topping. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  5. Remove the beef mixture from the oven, uncover, then pour the egg mix over. Arrange the bay leaves and almond flakes on top, then return to the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. The bobotie is done when the bay leaves are fragrant and the surface of the custard is golden brown.
  7. Serve with rice and sambal or a simple salad of tomatoes, cucumber and onions.