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Bobotee (South Africa)

This may be considered the national dish of South Africa, although it is commonly thought that it arrived there with Malaysian immigrants during the 17th century.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 large slice white bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 pound ground beef or lamb
  • Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (sultanas)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Granny Smith or other tart apple
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 bay (laurel) leaves
  • 1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings for garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over moderate heat and sauté the chopped onions until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Reserve.
  2. Soak the milk in the bread. Squeeze the milk from the bread and reserve both the bread and the milk.
  3. Combine the onions, bread, meat, salt, pepper, curry powder, brown sugar, lemon juice, chopped almonds, raisins, apple and 1 egg in a large bowl, mixing well with your hands.
  4. Place the meat mixture in a greased 3-quart casserole or baking dish and bake uncovered in a preheated 250 degree F oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Mix together the 2 remaining eggs, the reserved milk, and the bay leaves and pour over the meat mixture.
  6. Decorate with onion rings and extra almonds.
  7. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake an additional 45 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.


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