Bobotie (pronounced /bɒˈboʊti/) is as traditionally Cape Town as you can get.  None of my friends from "the northern provinces" of South Africa had eaten Bobotie before I made it for them, in Taiwan.  I suppose the reason for this is that it originated in the V.O.C. colonies in Batavia and came to the Cape via the Cape Malay people and it might not have migrated well to the north, who knows.

In essence it is a curried meat loaf, I suppose, with an egg custard topping.  It isn't very spicy and uses many different spices to give the dish a depth of flavour, rather than heat.

There are as many Bobotie recipes out there as there are households in the Cape, I'm sure.  However, this one is my absolute favourite.  I was passed to me by my mother and apparently this is the recipe used by late Tannie Elize Botha, 1st wife of late State President P.W. Botha when entertaining heads of state at Den Anker, The Groot Krokodil's holiday retreat.

This Bobotie is worth a try.  It was even mentioned in Francoise Steynberg's column Ek sê maar net in Die Republikein (a Namibian newspaper) on 23 April 2009.

Tannie Elize Botha's Bobotie


  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 500g minced meat.  A mixture of beef and pork works best for me.
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed (The garlic in Taiwan is not as potent as in South Africa, so if in Taiwan, by all means increase this to 4 cloves of garlic.)
  • 1 apple or 1 carrot, grated
  • 10 ml curry powder

  • 5ml ground coriander
  • 2ml ginger powder
  • 2ml mixed herbs
  • 5ml turmeric
  • 2ml ground cinnamon
  • 5ml sugar
  • 5ml salt
  • 2ml ground pepper
  • 5ml lemon juice
  • 2 slices of bread, soaked in water, most water squeezed out and broken up with a fork.
  • a handful of raisins
  • lemon leaves or bay leaves
  • 250ml cream or natural yoghurt
  • 2ml salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 eggs

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C.
  2. Lightly fry the mince in the oil until just done and crumbly.  Add the chopped onion and keep frying until the onion is soft and glossy.
  3. Add the garlic, apple and all the herbs and spices.  Keep frying so that the flavours can develop.  Taste and flavour with salt, pepper and the lemon juice.
  4. Add the bread and raisins and place the mixture in an oven proof dish.  Level the top of the meat and stab one or two bay or lemon leaves into the top.
  5. Whip the ingredients for the topping with a fork and pour it over the meat.  Bake in the pre-heated oven at 190C for 35 minutes or until the topping is set and golden brown.  Serve with rice, pumpkin fritters and a sambal.


  1. As dit goed genoeg is vir tannie Elize, is dit goed genoeg vir my. Ek is juis op soek na 'n goeie een, baie dankie. En gelukkige 2011.

  2. Dis hoe ek ook reken! Voorspoedige en fabulous 2011 vir jou ook, Adele.

  3. Ek gaan hierdie volgende week probeer maak. Ek het 'n ander resep en dit is ook lekker, maar dis tyd vir 'n Kitchenboy bobotie.

  4. Dis hoekom ek sê, daar is soveel bobotie resepte, soos as wat daar huishoudings is in die Kaap. Probeer gerus hierdie een - soos Adele hierbo sê: "As dit goed genoeg was vir tannie Elize, is dit goed genoeg vir my." :)

    Laat my weet hoe dit was!

  5. Made the Bobotie last night and it was really really good. Thanks for a great recipe. It was easy to make and really tasty. First time ever I added apple to bobotie. I also added some apricots, which made it very fruity and finger-licking good.

  6. I'm glad you liked it, Marion! I'm sure the apricots worked very well. After all, we usually eat our bobotie with bladjang (chutney) and that usually contains some dried apricots. Sounds lekker!

  7. Mmmm the yoghurt should be nice, a bit lighter on the bum & thighs...maybe tonight!

  8. Enjoy it Christelle and do let me know how it was!

  9. That is great recipe for a wonderful South African production. You fly the flag high with meals like that. So need comfort food in the cold wet weather we are "enjoying" (not) in Cape Town.

    1. Thank you, Rose! This is something I regularly make for my Taiwanese friends and it is always a winner. Sure, there are certainly easier ways to make Bobotie, but with this one, I feel there is a depth and balance of flavour that you don't always find inother versions.

      Thank you for the visit and the comment!


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