Here’s an alternative Christmas Eve recipe for you. Bobotie goes back to Roman times, although the first recipe appeared in a Dutch cookbook in 1609 which is how it ended up being a popular South African dish. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend lend you an English/Zulu cookbook:-


then you can probably find an authentic recipe. As ever, this is an interepretation and an adaptation. It might be a bit presumptious to mess around with things like this, but that’s life.

Bobotie, serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
2 banana shallots, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 eating apple peeled and chopped (your choice of variety)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
500g minced lamb
100g sultanas

Custard topping

250ml milk
2 eggs
8 bay leaves
salt and pepper


Preheat your oven to 160°C.

In a bowl, whisk the milk and eggs together to make your custard topping, and then season.

Very lightly oil your serving dishes to make them easier to wash up. The last time I made this, I used a small casserole dish for 2 portions, and then 2 individual dishes for the other 2 portions.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan or wok over a low heat, and fry the shallot, apple and garlic until the shallot is vaguely translucent. Add the garam masala and turmeric, and fry for a few minutes.

Now add the minced lamb, and fry for around 10 minutes until it has all changed colour. Add the sultanas and cook for a few minutes, mixing everything together well.

Turn the mixture out into your oiled dishes and cover the mixture in each one with your custard. Pop a couple of bay leaves in each portion and then bake for around half an hour in the oven (actual time may vary).

It should be golden brown on top (mine could probably have done with coming out a few minutes earlier).


Serve with peas or salad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s