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Few dishes are synonymous with traditional South African food than the regte egte bobotie. Okay, so maybe boerewors, biltong, pap and melktert provide strong competition, but a bobotie is still the ultimate in South African food! Besides, what says ‘welcome home’ better than this savoury mince dish infused with secret spices? Spices Ouma won’t reveal, not even after an extra toddy of Oupa’s peach brandy! 

For many saffas, food forms an intrinsic part of our culture. It’s how we socialise, celebrate, commiserate and bid fond farewell or welcome to our loved ones. It’s a known fact that if there’s an occasion about to happen, there’s an appropriate South African dish to compliment it! That said, the bobotie has long since been a favourite in many South African households. Traditionally made with curried beef mince, juicy sultanas, lashings of Mrs Balls chutney, and baked with an egg covering, the bobotie recipe can be found in every self-respecting South African kombuis!

It’s such a versatile dish and can be served cold with salads on a hot day or warm and fragrant on a chilly winter’s evening.

Bobotie

The Bobotie family tree

We all agree the South African bobotie recipe is one of a kind, but where does it come from, and what does it mean? The word bobotie is thought to come from the word ‘bobotok’; an Indonesian word used to describe a dish made of coconut, vegetables and sometimes meat cooked in a banana leaf.

So how did an Indonesian dish become South African? The story is simple; it attended a braai, took one bite of boerewors and decided to immigrate! Just kidding, if only emigration were that simple, the FinGlobal team could put their feet up and have more braais! In fact, the dish arrived in South Africa in the early seventeenth century from Indonesia. The Cape Malaya community then adapted Bobotok into the delicious bobotie we now know and love. The rest is history in a nutshell, or rather banana leaf!

What the Bo-tok Is Bobotie?

After all this talk about bobotie, you would think we would have covered this point already—however; there’s a lot more to say about what goes into making this delicious South African dish. Traditional bobotie is made using either beef or lamb mince. This is curried before adding flavoursome ingredients such as ginger, lemon, raisins and dried apricots. Some posh bobotie recipes also include walnuts and almonds, making the dish even more tasty and super indulgent!

Bobotie recipe

As you can see, this dish is so much more than your average meatloaf. However, as is typical for the Finglobal team, we’ve taken the time to find a recipe that pushes bobotie to new heights of decadence. What have we done? By simply combining a traditional bobotie recipe with a South African pancake recipe, we present the bobotie pancake stack!

Bobotie pancake stack recipe

If you can stop drooling long enough to read the recipe, you are one tough saffa chef. So knives and forks at the ready, let’s jump into the recipe so we can start feasting on this glorious creation!

What you need

Pancake mix (makes 8 pancakes)

  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 cups of full-cream milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups self-raising flour

Bobotie filling mix

  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 ½ Robertsons Braai & Grill All-In-One
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 1kg lean beef mince
  • ½ cup sultanas
  • ¼ cup Mrs Balls Chutney (hot or mild)
  • 1 cup hot water

Topping

  • Salt for seasoning
  • 1 ½ cups full-cream milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 bay leaves (optional)

What to do

To make the pancakes

  • Whisk the turmeric, milk and eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  • Then slowly add the self-raising flour, mixing continuously to prevent a lumpy texture.
  • Once all the flour has been added, whisk the mixture vigorously until smooth.
  • Use a 20cm non-stick pan for cooking the pancakes over medium heat.
  • For each pancake, pour a ¼ cup of batter into the pan, cook for 30-60 on the first side, then flip and cook the other side for 15-20 seconds. Each side should be golden brown.
  • Slide the pancake onto a plate and repeat the process until all the batter is used.

To make the bobotie filling

  • Set the oven temperature to 180 C and allow it to preheat while you prepare the filling.
  • Heat the oil on medium heat, add the diced onion, turmeric, cumin and Robertsons Braai & Grill Spice and fry until the onions are soft.
  • Next, add the mince and brown for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Then add the sultanas and hot water and allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes while the liquid reduces.
  • Add Mrs Balls Chutney and mix in thoroughly.
  • Remove the filling from the heat and allow it to stand while you prepare the baking tin.
  • Line a 20cm springform baking tin (loose bottom) with baking paper.

*  TIP: Wrap the base of the tin with foil to prevent the mince from leaking out the bottom. Place the first pancake in the bottom of the tin and cover it with a layer of the mince mixture. Next, cover the mince layer with the second pancake and add another layer of mince. Repeat the layering process using all the pancakes.

To make the topping

  • Add the eggs and milk to a mixing bowl, whisk thoroughly, and season with salt.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the pancake tower, pop the bay leaves on top and bake for 30-40 minutes. It’s cooked when the egg mixture has set, and the top is a lovely golden brown.
  • Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then slice into thick wedges and serve with fresh tomato salad and a healthy splotch of chutney. Yum!

Expert advice for SA expats right here at FinGlobal

FinGlobal may not be synonymous with delicious bobotie, but we are with things like bespoke immigration plans, professional service and friendly advice. If you are an expat based abroad or within our sunny borders, we can assist with your tax, pension, forex and retirement annuity queries.

With more than ten years in the immigration industry, you can trust your unique immigration needs to FinGlobal’s expertise.

To discuss your unique needs with our team, simply get in touch with us. Give us a call on +27 28 312 2764 or send us an email at info@finglobal.com, and we will assist you promptly.