South African Bobotie

An international recipe, this is the national dish of South Africa.  Bobotie is a comfort food casserole of spiced, curried ground beef topped with savory egg custard, reminiscent of Greek mousaka.

An international recipe for Bobotie. Made with ground beef, curry, raisins, and topped with an egg custard, this is the ultimate comfort food.

While on a business trip to Cape Town, I was fortunate enough to taste this amazing casserole at a client’s home.  I was in heaven with the sweet and spicy meat and the creamy, eggy custard on top.

I learned that every restaurant, food truck, and home cook in South Africa has its own version of bobotie.  So, I had to experiment and try several versions during my stay.  

I discovered that some bobotie was sweet, some very hot and spicy, but all of them had ground meat, curry, dried fruit, and a custard topping.  

I liked the recipes that used ground beef and maybe, ground turkey.  Ground lamb, ostrich, and alligator were other options I found available, but I disliked the gamey flavor.  However, feel free to swap in whatever ground meat you enjoy.

An international recipe for Bobotie. Made with ground beef, curry, raisins, and topped with an egg custard, this is the ultimate comfort food.


This international recipe only looks difficult.  There are many recipes for bobotie, but they all will have the following:  ground meat, cinnamon, curry, jam or chutney, and bread that is soaked in milk.

Raisins, cinnamon, and chutney add a subtle sweetness and brings out the flavors of the curry powder.  It has a gentle heat that kicks the back of the throat. 

You start by sauteeing ground meat, vegetables, and spices.  Then, it’s topped with creamy, eggy custard and baked in the oven until golden brown.


I like to serve this with a side of yellow rice, a green veggie, and maybe a salad.  I’ve also found some wonderful South African sides from around the web:

Take your tastebuds around the world with a few more international recipes:

  • Stay in South Africa or go to Peru with this spicy recipe for Piri Piri Chicken.
  • Head to Spain and try this recipe for Chicken, Chorizo, and Shrimp Paella.
  • Can’t get to Asia?  Daydream about it while digging into this recipe for Easy Vegetable Lo Mein.


An international recipe for the ultimate South African comfort food. This dish is flavorful with curry, raisins, and just a touch of heat.

  • Author: Eats By The Beach
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 slices thick-sliced white bread, torn into pieces
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 ½ pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon medium curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 ½ tablespoons malt vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins
  • 3 tablespoons hot apricot chutney
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the onions and cook until they are transparent – about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and stir, cooking, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. In a small bowl, add the torn bread and milk. Allow the milk to soak into the bread. Set aside.
  4. To the skillet, crumble the ground beef and start to incorporate the onions and garlic into the beef.
  5. Stir, breaking up the meat into small bits until it just starts to brown.
  6. Squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add the bread to the meat in the skillet. Don’t discard the milk.
  7. Continue to cook the meat, combining it with the bread until well combined and the meat has browned.
  8. Using the skillet lid, drain any fat off of the meat. Return to the stovetop.
  9. Stir in the curry powder, cinnamon, sugar, salt, turmeric, malt vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, raisins, and hot apricot chutney.
  10. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Use the back of your spoon to pack the meat tightly into the baking dish.
  11. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and the reserved milk from soaking the bread. Pour over the beef mixture. Lay the two bay leaves on top of the egg mixture.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 – 45 minutes until the eggs are set.
  13. Remove from the oven and serve with yellow rice and extra apricot chutney.


  • Serving Size: 1