Few recipes encapsulate our culture quite like the South African bobotie recipe. Of course, we have our traditional favourite foods and snacks like biltong, boerewors, and koeksisters, but no food brings that warm feeling of home to the dinner table quite like bobotie. Don’t believe us? Just ask a fellow home-sick Saffa stuck indoors on yet another freezing cold winter’s evening, and you’ll see we’re telling the truth! They’ll agree that there’s nothing better than digging your fork into an irresistible slice of traditional bobotie when you’re dreaming of the warm sun and the smell of jasmine wafting in from the garden. Ja, bobotie is the ultimate taste of home!
What Is bobotie?
Bobotie, in particular turkey bobotie, is a savoury dish made from ground (minced turkey). The mince is seasoned with curry, spices, and fruit, then topped with a rich egg topping and baked in the oven. Traditionally the dish is made with beef mince, but the use of pork, lamb, and, you guessed it, turkey is not unusual substitutes for this tasty dish.
Is bobotie truly South African?
The answer to that would have to be yes. The oldest South African bobotie recipe was first seen in a Dutch cookbook dating back to the 1600s. This fits in nicely with the fact that this dish has its roots deeply entrenched in the Cape Malay community, especially since its name closely resembles the Malayan word ‘boemboe,’ which translates into English as ‘curry spices.’ As you know, bobotie can be flavoured using a variety of spices but one ingredient it must have at all costs is curry; without it, it would simply be a mince dish!
Traditional bobotie side dishes
If you’re wondering what is traditionally served with bobotie, the answer is ‘geelrys’ or yellow rice, preferably basmati. But that’s not all; a turkey bobotie, or any bobotie for that matter, wouldn’t be a bobotie without a dollop of Mrs. Balls’ chutney! However, those with palates on the more adventurous side might be tempted to add a little more heat to their bobotie with a side serving of sambal. This Indonesian relish is made from chilli peppers and certainly gives bobotie a proverbial skop in the right direction! We’ll share an easy recipe for this later in the blog.
Easy bobotie recipe
As expected, it’s time for the recipe section of our blog, and there are definite treats in store for you! Not only are we sharing our favourite turkey bobotie recipe, but we have also included a sambal recipe to help kick-start those taste buds into action. So let’s get cooking!
For the easy bobotie recipe, you will need the following:
What you need:
- 1 kg minced turkey (uncooked)
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 tbsp of mild curry powder
- 2 tbsp Mango chutney (or Mrs. Balls Peach Chutney)
- 2 slices bread (white or brown)
- 3 onions finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 100g Sultanas
- 85g Almond flakes
- 5 tsp dried parsley
- 1 lemon juiced
- 3 eggs (large)
- 284 ml full cream milk
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
What to do:
- Place the bread in a small mixing bowl, pour the milk over it and allow it to soak.
- Over low heat, fry the onions and garlic until slightly soft, add the turkey mince, and cook until browned.
- Next, stir in the parsley, almonds, sultanas, lemon juice, curry powder, chutney, salt, and pepper.
- Using a fork, press the bread against the side of the bowl to remove the excess milk before adding it to the turkey mince; mix well. Keep the extra milk on one side; you will need this later.
- Select a medium oven dish and grease well before adding the turkey mince mixture. Use the back of the dishing-up spoon to spread and smooth the mince to fit the base of the oven dish.
- Now for the fun part! Add the eggs to the leftover milk and whisk the mixture until light and frothy, then pour it over the mince.
- Pop the oven dish into the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes at 180 C. The bobotie is ready when the egg mixture has set into a thick crust – yum!
Easy sambal recipe
For the easy sambal recipe, you will need the following:
What you need:
- Pestel and mortar (food processor if you have one)
- Fresh red chillis (or preferred variety)
- Pinch of rock salt or table salt
- Fresh lime juice
What to do:
- Place the chillis and salt into the mortar and grind until they form a rough paste. The salt is essential to create the friction needed to break the chillies down.
- Add a splash (or slug) of fresh lime juice and a pinch of salt to taste; stir thoroughly. Additional lime juice and salt can be added to suit your personal preference.
- Note* This is a raw sambal, and it should be refrigerated and used within two days.
The final boemboe crumb
Now that you have the perfect turkey bobotie and a delicious sambal relish, the only things left to do are whip up the green salad, cook the geelrys and finally serve with slices of sweet ripe banana!
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