Dinner/ meat

Bobotie recipe – South African curried meatloaf casserole

22 January 2019 | Last Updated: 16 February 2019 By Aleksandra

Bobotie recipe – South African curried meatloaf casserole

Bobotie is the national dish of South Africa. It’s a casserole with curried minced meat, aromatic spices and a blend of sweet and sour ingredients. It’s covered with fluffy, creamy egg custard and topped with bananas and shredded coconut.

The list of ingredients may sound exotic, but believe me, this dish is hearty, comforting and its taste complex. This casserole provides a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavours. If you like a combination of meat and fruit you will fall in love with this dish, as we did.

The meatloaf comes out very juicy, but can be easily cut into portions. It’s most often served with yellow rice – rice cooked with turmeric (or saffron), other aromatic spices and raisins. I also served green beans on the side. Beef or lamb mince meat is most commonly used, but I added beef and pork, making it more juicy.

The dish probably comes from the Indonesian island of Java, where a similar dish called Bobotok is known. It’s meat (mostly fish) wrapped in banana leaves, seasoned with coconut, bay leaves, curry paste and steamed. The Dutch traders, on their way from Indonesia to the Netherlands, colonized the Cape of Good Hope, where they brought Indonesian spices and slaves. The Dutch contributed the basic recipe for a minced-meat casserole with a baked-egg topping. The Malays on the other hand, combined european influences with the ingredients available on the spot and spices they knew from their homeland. This way Bobotie was created – a vibrant and colorful mixture of cultures and cuisines. It became very popular both in South Africa and later in the Netherlands, and over time also in other African countries. The first recipe for bobotie can be found in a Dutch cookbook from 1609. To this day, Indonesian cuisine is very popular in the Netherlands – you can find Satay chicken with peanut sauce in almost every restaurant.

I’ve tried many bobotie recipes and this is by far my favourite one. It’s loosely adapted from this website.

Bobotie recipe - South African curried meatloaf casserole

Bobotie recipe – South African curried meatloaf casserole

Curried minced meat casserole, seasoned with aromatic spices and a blend of sweet and sour ingredients. It’s covered with fluffy, creamy egg custard and topped with bananas and shredded coconut.
Bobotie - południowoafrykańska mięsna zapiekanka south-african meatloaf
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Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 3399kcal
Author Aleksandra


mince meat:

  • 500 g / 1.1 lbs mince meat I used beef and pork 60/40
  • 2 tablespoons frying oil
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped


  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • a large pinch ground cardamom
  • a pinch Cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 green apple peeled and grated, I used Golden Delicious
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 slices bread / 1 kaiser roll + milk for soaking details in the recipe
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • juice and zest from 1 lemon preferably organic

egg custard + topping:

  • 1.5 banana sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml milk
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut to sprinkle on top
  • a couple bay leaves for decoration, optional

yellow rice:

  • 250 g / 8.8 oz rice
  • 650 ml boiling water
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons raisins 50g
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric

to serve:

  • green beans



  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan, add the chopped onions, cook over medium-low heat for about 8 minutes, until translucent. Add chopped garlic and spices and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Move to the side of the pan.
  • Increase the heat to the highest setting, add the second tablespoon of oil and ½ meat, cook for about 2 minutes (don’t stir), then stir and cook until the meat is no longer pink (don’t cook the meat for too long so it won’t dry out). Move to the side of the pan and repeat with the remaining meat. Mix the browned meat with onions, garlic, and spices together. Take the pan off the heat.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
  • Soak the bread in milk, then blend in a food processor into a paste. I used 1 kaiser roll and about ½ cup of milk. You don’t need to remove the crust, just break the kaiser roll into smaller pieces, soak in milk, then puree in a food processor until paste forms, you shouldn’t be lumpy. If you don’t want to blend the kaiser roll/bread, you need to remove the crust, then crumble it finely and soak in milk.
  • Add to the pan: apricot jam, peeled, cored and grated apple, tomato paste, raisins, juice and lemon zest, and the bread-milk paste.
  • Place the pan back on the stovetop, stir fry for about 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, transfer the content of the pan into a baking dish (I used a round 26 cm /10-inch baking dish).
  • Place banana slices on top of the casserole.
  • Mix the eggs with milk, pour over the meat mixture. Sprinkle with shredded coconut on top, then place the bay leaves.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until the egg custard is set and browned at the edges. After removing the casserole from the oven, leave to rest for about 5-10 minutes before cutting into portions.
  • Serve with yellow rice and boiled green beans.

Rice and beans:

  • Rinse the rice. Add the cardamom pods, cloves, turmeric, salt and rice in a medium pot. Pour in boiling water, stir, bring to a boil and cover. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes or until rice absorbs water and is soft.
  • Cook the green beans (I used frozen) for about 3 minutes in lightly salted water. Drain.
  • Enjoy!
Course dinner
Cuisine south-african
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Bobotie recipe - South African curried meatloaf casserole
Bobotie recipe - South African curried meatloaf casserole, close up on a baking dish

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