Frans's Prizewinning Bobotie

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“This month this recipe won 1st prize in a cookery competition in an Afrikaans women's magazine. The magazine is on the lookout for the "best" of South African traditional recipes. The winner, and creator, of this recipe is Frans Kleingeld of Langebaan on the West Coast (locals and ex-pats will know exactly where that is!) Don't be put off by his list of ingredients -- they are all simple and there is nothing exotic in his bobotie. It seems the small amounts of the many things which he puts in might be his secret! He says: "My recipe is baked in a water bath, which keeps it juicy. It has a nice texture which does not fall apart when cut. And you cannot make bobotie without raisins and almonds, because that is how our foremothers made it!" NOTE : I made this recipe exactly as written, right after posting it. The only problem was mine: my curry powder was not fresh enough. I added masala, which was also past its best. Maybe that was the problem, because I still thought something was missing. It's a great recipe regardless of the fussy measurements, but please make sure your curry powder is fragrant and fresh. It took me 30 minutes prep (I guessed 25) and because I used a lower oven heat for my convection oven I allowed 7 - 8 minutes longer in the oven, and the top was therefore a bit darker than it should be. A nice bobotie.”
1hr 25mins

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 slices brown bread, thickly sliced
  • 1 12 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 onions, medium, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (fresh, not too strong)
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons chutney (this would be a fruity chutney like Mrs Balls or Wellingtons)
  • 5 teaspoons vinegar, brown (we use a brown grape or wine vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 lbs ground beef (and add 2 oz extra, as he uses 1 kg lean mince, just over 2 lbs)
  • 13 cup raisins (more than 1/3rd, he uses 100 ml)
  • 13 cup almonds, split (more than 1/3rd, he uses 100 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 bay leaves (or use lemon leaves)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 deg F/ 180 deg Celsius.
  2. Break up the bread and soak in the milk.
  3. Heat oil and butter in a pan, and fry the onion and garlic until tender and transparent. Add the curry powder and apricot jam (jelly) and mix well.
  4. Add the chutney, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and HALF the turmeric.
  5. Press the milk from the bread, keeping the milk. Add the bread to the mixture in the pan and mix in well. (Break up lumps).
  6. Add the ground beef, raisins, splintered almonds and salt.
  7. Mix well, and fry over low heat until the meat just starts changing colour.
  8. Remove pan from stove. Beat 1 egg and mix into the meat mixture.
  9. Put the mixture into a suitable, greased oven dish. Arrange the bay or lemon leaves in top, or push in halfway.
  10. Beat the 2 leftover eggs with the rest of the turmeric, and the milk you saved from the bread. Pour this carefully over the bobotie.
  11. Put the bobotie into a larger dish, and pour warm water into the outer dish, to fill it about 2/3rds full.
  12. Bake for 1 hour. Serve with traditional Yellow Rice with Raisins.

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