Monday, January 28, 2013

Adventurous Eating: Bobotie (South African Meat Pie)

For me, adventurous eating isn't always about ingesting strange animals or bizarre flavor combinations.  Sometimes it's as simple as trying a dish you can't pronounce or experiencing a different type of ethnic cuisine.  I especially love it when the recipes come to me from a friend or acquaintance who has a personal connection to the dish, though that's not the case with this particular one.  Bottom line:  open mind, hungry belly, delicious recipe!

Bobotie (pronounced ba-boor-tea, according to is the national dish of South Africa.  It's a type of meat pie that incorporates curried meat, fruit, and a delicious egg-based topping.  Like many national dishes, everyone has their favorite way to make it.  It's often served with yellow rice (see recipe at the end) and a side of chutney.  This recipe was inspired by a lightened up Weight Watchers version.  Many of the recipes I looked at also include a slice or two of day old bread chopped up into the meat mixture and/or a handful or two of slivered almonds.  I decided to leave these out this time (simply because Annalyn doesn't eat nuts yet and we didn't have any bread), but might be a nice variation in the future.  It was a big hit with all three of us and we will definitely be making it again!  Here's how Mama makes it:

Bobotie (South African Meat Pie)

- cooking spray, for pan
- 1 lb. uncooked lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium apple, yellow or Granny Smith, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 c. carrots, finely chopped
- 1/2 c. raisins
- 4 bay leaves, (2 for cooking + 2 for garnish)
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 1/4 c. dry red wine
- 1/2 c. mango ginger chutney
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 c. low-fat milk
- 1 T. curry powder (as mild or hot as you like it)
- 1 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1 t. chili powder
- 1/2 t. turmeric
- 1/2 t. ground cumin
- 1/4 t. ground cloves
- 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  In a large skillet, brown the meat over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes.  Drain the meat, set aside.

once drained, set meat aside until needed

2.  In the same pan, reduce heat to medium-low and saute onion, apple, carrot, raisins, and bay leaves.  Cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.
finely chop the veggies

no need to add additional oil,
just use the same pan the meat was cooked in

3.   Stir in the meat, then pour in wine.  Add the spice mix and garlic, simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.  Remove bay leaves, stir in chutney.

if you don't want to use wine,
feel free to substitute beef broth

look at this beautiful combination of spices

add spices, then simmer for a bit
to allow flavors to combine

remove from heat before adding chutney

I could probably just eat it with a spoon at this point...

4.  Spoon mixture into the prepared pan.

but I resisted and put it in a pan

5.  In a small bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk together eggs and milk.  Pour over the meat mixture; be sure to cover top.  Top with remaining bay leaves (remove before serving).

seriously, I love this little whisk!

try to pour evenly

making sure to cover the whole top

I used the two bay leaves I cooked with
plus two more to decorate the top of the dish

6.  Bake until egg is set, about 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting. Makes 6 servings, about 7 WW pts each. (WW suggests cutting it into 8 pieces at 5-6 pts each, but I just don't think that's enough of this delicious dish!)

the gorgeous egg custard topping baked up so beautifully
that I almost didn't want to slice it...

but it smelled so good, that I just couldn't resist!
(I served it with yellow rice and broccoli)

7.  For Peanut,  I topped her broccoli with some shredded cheese, then gave her some of the cooled meat and rice.  Like her daddy and me, she was a big fan of bobotie!

notice there's very little of the meat on her tray?
I couldn't snap a pic fast enough - she devoured it!

For the yellow rice: 
I served this dish with a yellow saffron rice mix that I had on hand, but here's a quick way to make yellow rice as a side:   Cook 1 c. white rice according to package directions, but add 1/2 t. turmeric, 1 T. minced garlic, and 1 t. salt to the water.  Can also add raisins or coconut, but this is optional.

May your heart and mind be open,
and your cooking be adventurous...
Happy Monday!!


  1. Brian made this for us tonight. Theo didn't want to come eat, because he claimed not to like this (food that he has never had, a common issue lately). We quietly held our tongues as he finally started eating it, and asked for more once he cleaned his plate. His review was: "I'm glad I tried it! It was good, it was yummy!"

  2. Aww! Glad my little nephew approved! :)