Bobotie could almost be called the national dish of South Africa, it consists of spicy minced meat topped by a savoury custard which is then baked in the oven. Bobotie was created by the Cape Malay community and there are as many variations as there are aunts or grandmothers that have may passed the recipe on to family members. It originated as a way of using leftovers from the Sunday roast.

It is a meal that is adored by some and equally hated by others. All agree however that the mince should be creamy and tender in texture which can only come from long and slow cooking. Most restaurants in South Africa will have a version of bobotie on their menu. What we have been told is an original recipe follows.

Feeds eight so halve if wanting to feed four people.
Ingredients
1 kg minced lamb or beef or half and half
1 tblspn butter and 2 tblspns vegetable oil
2 onions chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
15ml curry powder
5ml ground turmeric
2 slices stale bread crumbled
60ml milk
finely grated rind of 1/2 a small lemon
1 egg
5ml salt
sprinkle of pepper or amount to your taste
100g chopped dried apricots
a granny smith apple, cored, peeled and chopped
60ml sultanas
50g slivered roasted almonds (optional)
6 lemon, orange or bay leaves

Topping
250ml milk
2 eggs
2 ml salt
pinch of pepper

Method
Set the oven to 170deg C
Butter a large casserole and set aside
Heat butter and oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until translucent
Stir in the curry powder and turmeric and cook briefly until fragrant
Remove the saucepan from the heat
Mix in the minced meat

In a bowl mix together the crumbs, milk, lemon rind and juice, egg, salt, pepper, apricots, sultanas and mix into the minced meat mixture.

Pile into the casserole dish and level the top. Push the leaves into the mixture at regular intervals.

Seal with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours
Increase the oven temperature to 200deg C

Mix together the topping milk, eggs and salt, if you are using a very big casserole dish you may need to make more topping
pour this mixture over the cooked minced meat
Bake uncovered for a further 15 minutes until cooked and slightly browned
Serve with yellow rice and sambals or chutney

This is an easy and simple recipe to make and can easily feed a large family and or visitors.
This is actually a welcoming meal during the cold winters nights.