Place of origin
Bobotie //, also spelt bobotjie, is a South African dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. Bobotok was an Indonesian dish consisting of meat with a custard topping that was cooked in a pan of water until the egg mixture set. Colonists from the Dutch East India Company colonies in Batavia probably introduced bobotie to South Africa.The first recipe for bobotie appeared in a Dutch cookbook in 1609. Afterwards, it was taken to South Africa and adopted by the Cape Malay community. It is also made with curry powder leaving it with a slight "tang". It is often served with Sambal.
It is a dish of some antiquity: it has certainly been known in the Cape of Good Hope since the 17th century, when it was made with a mixture of mutton and pork. Today it is much more likely to be made with beef or lamb, although pork lends the dish extra moistness. Early recipes incorporated ginger, marjoram and lemon rind; the introduction of curry powder has simplified the recipe somewhat but the basic concept remains the same. Some recipes also call for chopped onions to be added to the mixture. Traditionally, bobotie incorporates dried fruit like raisins or sultanas. It is often garnished with walnuts, chutney and bananas.
Although not particularly spicy, the dish incorporates a variety of flavours that can add complexity. For example, the dried fruit (usually apricots and raisins/sultanas) contrasts the curry flavouring very nicely. The texture of the dish is also complex, with the baked egg mixture topping complementing the milk-soaked bread which adds moisture to the dish.
The Bobotie recipe was transported by South African settlers to colonies all over Africa. Today, recipes for it can be found that originated in white settler communities in Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. There is a variation that was popular among the 7,000 Boer settlers who settled in the Chubut River Valley in Argentina in the early 20th century, in which the bobotie mixture is packed inside a large pumpkin, which is then baked until tender. A dish in a Bobotie style has been made with haggis in Scotland, but this is not true bobotie.
Bobotie was selected by 2008 Masters golf champion and South African native Trevor Immelman as the featured menu item for Augusta National's annual "Champions Dinner" in April 2009. Each year, the reigning champion at The Masters golf tournament, played every year in Augusta, Georgia, hosts the gathering and tends to create a menu featuring delicacies from his home region. Previous examples include German Bernhard Langer's 1986 Wiener Schnitzel feast, Brit Nick Faldo's Fish and Chips, Canadian Mike Weir's elk and wild boar, and Vijay Singh's Seafood Tom Kah and Chicken Panang Curry.
- "Bobotie" - Times Live
- Smit, S., and Fulton, M. (1983) The South African Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery. Cape Town; C Struik.
- "Bobotie Is South African Favorite" - The Hartford Courant
- "Sampling South Africa Cooks Meld Far Flung Cuisines to Create a Flavor for a Nation" - Richmond Times
- "Bobotie, South Africa's Indigenous Cuisine" - New York Times
- "Bobotie, a local and international winner" - Independent Online
- "On the Menu: The Champions Dinner at The Masters" - About.com
- Bobotie recipe from Laurens van der Post
- Bobotie recipe (episode winner) on ITV's "There's No Taste Like Home"