A distinctively South African (Cape Malay) dish, this is apparently traditionally served with ‘Yellow rice’ – long-grain rice cooked with a spoonful of turmeric added to the water for colour and a handful or raisins thrown in for good measure, plus sambals or side dishes.

I tend to add add any suitable ‘sides’ along the lines of a west African ‘groundnut chop’ accompaniments, such as handfuls of coriander, cucumber ribbons in lime juice, fried onions, chopped pawpaw or mango with a sprinkle of lime or lemon, salad leaves, chopped oranges, chopped chillis, chopped sweet red and green peppers for colour… The fresh fruit and veg cut through the richness of the lamb.  I sometimes add a few toasted almonds and sometimes finely chopped dried apricots to the rice. You can happily ‘cheat’ with a packet of pilau rice, too!

Mrs H. S. Ball’s chutney is ideal to serve with and use in the cooking, but you can get good supermarket own-brand chutneys with apricot or peach. If you can’t get these, just use apricot jam – you can add a teaspoon of vinegar if you think it might be too sweet. You can also throw in a few finely chopped dried apricots to the meat mix to add to the fruity flavours.

To serve 4 -6 (though I have made double to feed 6 with no leftovers!)

2 thickish slices of white bread

10 fl oz. milk (300 ml) – caution will be used in two halves

2 peeled, chopped onions

1lb (450-500g) minced lamb, lower fat, preferably.

4 good tablespoons apricot/peach chutney or apricot or peach jam (yes, really!).  

A clove of chopped garlic, or a good squeeze of garlic paste/heaped tsp of lazy garlic.

2 teaspoons mild (or medium) curry powder (garam masala would work, too)

Half a teaspoon of salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 large eggs

2 bananas

2-3 bayleaves.

Pre-heat oven to 180 (160 fan), 350F.

Put the bread in a bowl, pour over a scant half of the milk and leave to soak. Fry the onions and lamb, adding the garlic after a minute or two.  Add the curry powder and continue to fry gently until the onions are translucent and soft and the lamb lightly browned. Remove from heat. Fork through the bread and milk to break it up and add it to the cooling lamb mixture, mixing thoroughly. Season well and stir through the chutney or jam. Pack the mix into a baking dish about 1.5” deep.

Peel the bananas, slice lengthways and arrange on top of the meat mix in a pattern, garnish with the bay leaves.  Beat the eggs and remaining milk together and pour gently over the top of the meat mix. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the custard is golden and set.

Garnish with coriander, slice and serve with the various ‘trimmings’ and a selection of chutneys.

Bobotie ready to serve. This was actually double quantities.

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