2010 World Cup South Africa – Bobotie

This Friday, June 11, 2010, marks the opening day of the 2010 FIFA World Cup games, held in South Africa. Soccer is the most widely played and enjoyed sport around the world, and it’s certainly the most popular sport in our household. My husband has played nearly his entire life, growing up in city leagues, playing for school, and enjoying adult amateur soccer, both indoors and out. He introduced me to indoor soccer – I started playing about 9 years ago (my previous experience was only a single season as a kindergartner – many years ago!), and while I’m not likely to be called up to the WPS anytime soon, it’s a great way to stay in shape, challenge myself, enjoy time with friends, and blow off steam. At home, we subscribe to a lot of specialty cable TV stations, just so my husband can watch as many of his beloved Chelsea games as he can. Of course, when we tune in this Saturday to watch the United States play England, we’ll be cheering our Team USA the whole way.

In anticipation of the upcoming games, I realized I knew next to nothing about South African cuisine. So I worked to educate myself. Turns out, South African cuisine is a “rainbow of cuisines” (as described by Wikipedia), as it is comprised of a variety of sources and cultures, including the cuisines of the indigenous people of South Africa, such as the Khoisan and Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho-speaking people, Indian and British immigrants and their cuisines, the cuisines of the Cape Malay people, and cultures such as Portuguese Mozambique. This makes for a wide variety of dishes and tastes. I was unsure of where to start, so I found one of the most popular dishes in South Africa – bobotie.

Bobotie is a meat dish consisting of ground/minced beef or lamb topped with an egg “custard”. The spices remind me of Indian and Malaysian cuisine, with the use of curry and turmeric, but the inclusion of nuts and fruit reminds me of other African dishes. While it takes a bit of time to make, the dish is relatively straightforward. I sifted through recipes, and decided upon a Martha Stewart recipe that looked tasty. I served it with a cinnamon basmati rice, also a variation on her recipe, which was full of flavor and enticing aromas. It was a tasty meal, and a perfect introduction into South African cuisine. I certainly plan to make another dish or two soon – does anyone have recommendations?

If you wish to browse other South African recipes, check out Meeta’s Monthly Mingle – South Africa Roundup over at What’s For Lunch, Honey? Those dishes all look inviting!

Gluten-Free Bobotie, adapted from Martha Stewart

3 T extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, chopped finely

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped coarsely

2 T minced fresh ginger

Salt and pepper

1 t ground turmeric

1 1/2 T Madras curry powder

2 lbs ground beef or lamb (I used lean ground bison)

1/2 c (1 oz) slivered almonds, toasted

4 slices gluten-free bread, crusts removed (I used Udi’s whole grain sandwich bread)

1 3/4 c whole milk

2 T mango chutney (or apricot preserves)

2 T fresh lemon juice

4 large eggs

1/8 t freshly ground nutmeg

1 t finely grated lemon zest

4 dry bay leaves

Cilantro and mango chutney as accompaniments (Martha also suggests lemon or lime wedges and unsweetened coconut)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Add onions, apple, and ginger, and season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes or until soft and golden brown. Add turmeric and curry powder and stir to combine. Add the ground meat, breaking into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Stir in almonds and cook for 2 more minutes.

Tear the bread into large pieces and place in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup of milk and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let stand until the milk is absorbed. Add the bread mixture to the ground meat and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes. Stir in mango chutney and lemon juice, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, and taste. Adjust seasoning as needed, adding salt and pepper.

Spoon ground meat mixture into a 6 to 8-cup shallow baking dish. Whisk eggs, nutmeg, lemon zest, and remaining milk in a medium bowl. Pour over ground meat mixture. Place bay leaves in dish, pressing into filling just a bit. Bake until set around edges and center is no longer runny, about 35 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with accompaniments and cinnamon basmati rice.

Serves 6.

Cinnamon Basmati Rice, adapted from Martha Stewart

1 T unsalted butter

1 c raw basmati rice, rinsed

1 whole bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

1 crushed green cardamom pod

2/3 c raisins

2 c water

salt and pepper

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and saute until each grain is shiny and coated with butter mixture. Add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom pod, and raisins to saucepan. Add water and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to cook, covered, until rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes more. Fluff and remove bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pod. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 4-6.


Filed under Beef, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Lamb, Main Dishes, Rice

26 responses to “2010 World Cup South Africa – Bobotie

  1. Alta, I’ve been wanting to play soccer for awhile now. I used to play in high school but that was many moons ago, lol! This dish looks so yummy and you better believe I’ll be watching the World Cup!! Maybe with this :d YUMM!

  2. I like the name Bobotie. It looks like an amzing dish. I used to follow soccer matches growing up but haven’t been keeping up for a while.

  3. Wow, this looks great! I always love and appreciate the information you present. I always get a new wrinkle in my brain!!

  4. It sounds as though the level of excitement and anticipation about World Cup soccer is just as high in your house as it is in mine. This dish is a fantastic way to celebrate the cuisine of South Africa. I’m definitely going to make this for my family.

  5. Yes! On Friday I will lose my TV to World Cup. I have only a passing interest in the game but the husband is a fanatic. Love the casserole.

  6. I love that I never know what type of recipe I will find here at Tasty Eats, Alta! Looks delicious and thanks for all the info. The indoor soccer league sounds wonderful. 🙂 Soccer was our focus for years. Son played from an early age through high school. We loved going to his games.


  7. We LOVE European soccer too. But we love Liverpool. We won’t hate if you won’t 🙂 HAHA. I have been wanting to make Bobotie to learn more about South African cuisine but my husband doesn’t like ANY of the ingredients. Okay, he would eat the meat, and that’s abotu it. So I will live vicariously through your dish because it looks DELISH!

  8. What a great way to ‘explore’ the world. I have many great memories of the foods of South Africa, especially those that migrated from India.

  9. Nice way to kick off the World Cup. Can’t wait for it to start this Friday. Woohoo!!!!

  10. Where do you find the time? I’m so impressed – it looks absolutely fabulous.

    I wish that I could say I knew the game was going to be on but when it comes to sports, everything seems to go in one ear and out the other with me.

  11. I love the combination of sweet and savory spices. This looks like a great dish to kick off the big game! Everyone in this house is excited about the World Cup too!

  12. I’ve never heard of this before… so fascinating! I love that every time I read your posts, I learn something new!

  13. I am also excited that the world cup is just round the corner….A big applause for South Africa!
    Bobotie is a completely new dish to me…looks very tempting.

  14. I so miss bobotie and love love love your version of it. The addition of mango chutney, almonds, and coriander is a masterstroke and makes yours very special indeed. I was in South Africa during the multi-year run up to the World Cup and wish I was there with you now for the real thing! Go Bafana-Bafana!

  15. I love the idea of exploring other cuisines to help me be a part of my husband’s sports focus (um, obsession, hobby, etc.:) – only partly kidding!). Thanks Alta, for suggesting a new way to look at this part of my life:). We could even do it within the US – for example, the Celtics just played the Lakers (can’t believe I even know that!). To munch on during the game, I could’ve made something Boston-like and something LA-like! Not sure what that would be, but by golly, I think I’ve got the hang of this new game!!!

  16. Wow! I’ve never even heard of this dish. It sounds delicious!

  17. What a great post! Love the soccer information. It’s nice to have some sports talk along with the food talk. And did I mention how incredible this African dish looks?! Wow, this looks and sounds delicious.
    Good one, Alta.

  18. Stan Butler

    My first love is Jesus…then my wife of 45 years…then cooking. I really enjoyed looking over you blog. I am now a follower of yours. Feel free to look over my blog and perhaps become one as well on my blog.

  19. Over here at http://worldcupfoodchallenge.blogspot.com, we’ve integrated a similar recipe for bobotie into a menu that incorporates all of the flavors of tomorrow’s game day – South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay and France!

  20. I like football but not a big fan! But I’ll join my hubby to watch the game untill midnight though. =) Btw, this bobotie sounds really interesting and it really does has such strong flavour to kick up the appetite. The recipe is actually sound a little like those Chinese savory steamed egg with meat. But alot more creamier. I bet it taste fantastic! Hope you’re having a wonderful time and enjoy the game with your family.
    Blessings, Kristy

  21. Yeah World Cup !!! and of course even a bigger yeah to this dish. It looks amazing

  22. What a fabulous tribute to the Cup! I’m inspired! Go USA!!

  23. Pingback: One Last Hurrah – Tortilla Soup with Goat Cheese Guacamole « Tasty Eats At Home

  24. such an appropriate world cup recipe! this looks great 🙂

  25. Looks so delicious!

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