South African Bobotie with Yellow Rice

South African Bobotie with Yellow Rice

South African Bobotie with Yellow Rice

Well, let’s face it, some ingredients are just not photogenic,  and will never convey one’s excitement for a particular dish. Ground beef is one of them. The first time I made this recipe, modified from“The Flavour Principle” by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol, I was so thrilled. I just knew that I had to include it in my blog: but the photos were less than inspiring. I knew that I would make it again,  so I planned for the photos a bit better the second time around. Well, the flavours were just as extraordinary, but no end of planning could make me really love the photos. But here’s the deal: this recipe is over-the-top scrumptious. I could live on this stuff for weeks! If I could take one dish to a deserted island, it would be this one….well, you get the idea. This is a dish of superlatives and I want you to make it, so despite my lack of excitement over the pictures, I am including it in my blog.

Bobotie is the iconic dish of South Africa, most commonly served with yellow rice. I first heard of this recipe ions ago, while reading a novel about the history of South Africa. The description was so enticing that I searched high and low for a recipe and found one in some obscure cookbook in the library. So when I saw this recipe in the Flavour Principle, I jumped on it; and I am extremely happy to present it to you today. I hope you enjoy it

I am going to bring a whopping big plate of this over to the gang at Fiesta Friday. Our consummate host, Angie of The Novice Gardener, must have one of the longest running virtual blog parties around, and we are all still loving it! Thanks so much to you, Angie and to all of the wonderful co-hosts who tend to our needs week after week.


South African Bobotie with Yellow Rice


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups chopped onions

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 ½ pounds extra lean ground beef

¼ cup dried breadcrumbs

½ cup raisins

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons mango chutney

1 tablespoon apricot jam or orange marmalade

salt and freshly ground black pepper


2 eggs

1 ½ cups light cream

pinch salt

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until softened. Add ginger, curry powder, turmeric and sugar, and cook until fragrant. Add ground beef and sauté until it starts to lose its pinkness. Add breadcrumbs, raisins, vinegar, tomato paste, chutney and apricot jam, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 5 to 7 minutes or until the flavours have come together. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper or more spice according to your own taste. Transfer to an 8” x 8” greased baking or casserole dish.

Beat together the eggs, milk, salt and lemon zest and pour over the meat mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top has set and has turned a lovely golden colour.


Yellow Rice


3 cups water

2 cups white basmati rice

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

3 1-inch pieces cinnamon stick

1 cup raisins

1 teaspoon sea salt


Rinse the rice in a strainer in cold running water until the water runs clear. Drain well in the strainer.

Combine the water, rice, turmeric, cinnamon sticks and salt in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the raisins. Cover and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the rice is tender. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.

If you have to pick one dish to take with you to a deserted island, this is the one!

If you have to pick one dish to take with you to a deserted island, this is the one!




63 Responses to “South African Bobotie with Yellow Rice”

  1. brendonthesmilingchef

    Definitely agreed that mince is hard to shoot well. I often find that hard to shoot ingredient like it are best shot from above at a 90° angle. It just adds some pizaz abd sophistication to the shot. Good luck

  2. Nancy

    Bobotie?? Never heard of it, Julianna…but I love it’s name! Intriguing flavors combined to make a delicious looking dish. 😛 Your photos are spectacular (black plate, maybe?). If this bobotie were available, I think I could indeed survive that deserted island!

    • chefjulianna

      Yes, I thought the yellow rice would jump off the black plate, so as to create a bit of excitement! Thanks so much for the kind words, Nancy! 😀

  3. Tracy

    For not being photogenic, this ground beef dish certainly looks scrumptious!! You could have fooled me 😉 Bobotie is a new one on me but from the looks of it, I’m going to have to try it soon!

    • chefjulianna

      Me too! There are so many things I would blog about, but the pictures are just ugly! Now I understand why most cookbooks don’t have photos of everything!

  4. Loretta

    Great post there Juliana, love reading and trying foods from around the world, and this definitely looks amazing!

  5. Johanne Lamarche

    I have a South African friend who made this for me once. LOVED it! Thank you for sharing the recipe! What novel inspired you to seek out the recipe Juliana?

    • chefjulianna

      So glad! Then you understand why this photo cannot convey that my taste buds were dancing!! The novel is an older one of James Michener. It was called “The Covenant”. Excellent read!


    Your recipe from South Africa has a special “ring” to it. Never heard of bobotie before but it looks delicious. I think your pictures are great – I know what you mean about some things are just not as photogenic as you would like them to be 🙂

  7. spiceinthecity

    Pass that plate right over, will you pls 😀 Bobotie sounds and looks scrumptuous Julianna! I think you’ve done a wonderful job of making it look really delicious 🙂

  8. andy

    I am already in a deserted island 😉 with Julianna’s exotic preparation ………….yummmmmm ❤

  9. Nicky Corbishley

    A great looking meal Julianna. I’ve never made it before, but I really fancy giving it a go. Happy Fiesta Friday (even though it’s Tuesday :-))

  10. petra08

    The dish looks delicious! You made it photogenic! Some foods is just harder than others and I think we all have one or two that we have a struggle with. This however looks delicious and what an intriguing recipe with the ingredients! I have never heard of it but it sounds delicious. 🙂

  11. Pang @circahappy

    I actually disagree with you, Julianna. I think the photos look good & appetising that I want to make it really soon from looking at it. I bet it would be as good as your guarantee 🙂

  12. Andrea

    Hi, how many people does this recipe serve? Making it for a group of people that are going to Cape Town this summer. And another question: I have seen this recipe calling for lamb, and also half beef and half lamb. What are your thoughts on that? Thanks. And I’ve seen one with chopped Granny Smith apples. So many variations.

  13. Lyn

    I am a South African and I have cooked and eaten many versions of Bobotie. My friend,Sue is British and she served this delicious Bobotie last night. it is definitely the most delicious version of this recipe . The traditional ones have bread crumbs and milk mixed with egg for the topping but the cream looks and tastes much better! Thank you for sharing it !


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