Delicious Bobotie

Written by Anelia Van Zyl

Cooked and ready to serve bobotie beside garnish

Growing up on a beautiful farm in the Cederberg Mountains in South Africa, we always had fresh produce and good-quality meat to feast on. My mom was a master chef in my eyes and taught me all the things I know and love about cooking. I present to you her famous Bobotie! A Cape Malay favorite with origins in Indonesia and later the Netherlands, this classic dish is packed with flavor and will surely make you beg for more.


• 2 slices of white bread, crusts removed

• 1 cup of milk

• 2 tbsp of vegetable oil

• 1 medium onion, finely chopped

• 2 cloves of garlic, minced

• 1 tbsp of curry powder

• 1 tsp of turmeric

• 1 tsp of ground cumin

• 1 tsp of ground coriander

• ½ tsp of ground cinnamon

• 450 g of ground beef

• 2 tbsp of white vinegar

• 2 tbsp of smooth apricot jam

• 2 medium eggs

• 5 fresh bay leaves

• ¼ cup of raisins (optional)

• Sliced almonds for topping (optional)

• Salt and pepper to taste


• Cutting board and knife

• Spatula

• Whisk

• Fork

• 2 small bowls

• Medium-sized baking dish

• Measuring cups

• Frying pan


1. Preheat the oven to 175°C.

2. Break the bread into small pieces and place them in a bowl. Pour the milk over the bread, put aside, and let it soak.

3. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft.

4. Add the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon to the mixture. Stir well and cook for a further 3 minutes.

5. Now add the ground beef and cook until it’s browned and cooked through. Break it up into small pieces with a fork as it cooks.

6. In a cup, mix the vinegar and apricot jam, add to the beef, and remove from heat.

7. Squeeze the excess milk from the soaked bread, and add the bread to the beef mixture. Should you use raisins, you can add them at this point.

8. Season the mixture with some salt and black pepper. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then pour ¾ of it over the meat mixture. Gently mix everything together.

9. Transfer the mixture to a greased ovenproof dish and smooth the top. Pour the rest of the egg mixture on top. If you’re using sliced almonds, you can add them now. Place the bay leaves on top as well.

10. Bake the Bobotie for 30–40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the Bobotie is set.

11. Remove from the oven and bon appetit!

Traditionally, Bobotie is served with yellow rice and chutney. You can also serve it with dried coconut flakes, thinly sliced banana, or fresh tomato and onion sambal. Enjoy!

Photos courtesy of the author.

About the Author

Anelia is a performing artist from South Africa. She has been living and working as a teacher in Thailand for eight years. She also writes educational children’s books, makes music, and loves to spend time in the kitchen. Follow her adventures on IG @aneliavz.