Guest Post: “Bobotie” — South African Meatloaf

14 Apr

When I fell back in love with meat loaf, it sparked a memory for reader, Debby, of a recipe she first tasted in South Africa. A retired museum worker, Debby has travelled to many exotic lands and is often referring to the recipes she picked up along the way.

Gorgonzola-Studded Caramelized Onion Mini Meat Loaves

Gorgonzola-Studded Caramelized Onion Mini Meat Loaves

Debby set about making the fondly remembered Bobotie to share with the Savvy Single Suppers community. Debby is also one of those amazing and heroic Savvy Singles who has raised a fine young man (primarily on her own) while working full-time. She has walked the talk.

I’m pleased to share her recipe and photos with you today (this Savvy Single is sicker than the proverbial dog). Now, in Debby’s words:

“I first tasted this recipe in South Africa and have made it many times since. I’ve been told it has Malaysian roots, like many South African recipes.

Assemble your ingredients for South African meat loaf --- "Bobotie"

Assemble your ingredients for South African meat loaf — “Bobotie”


  • 1 kg (2.2 lbs)         minced lamb/beef/chicken, or cold roast. All work well.
  • 2                              onions, thinly sliced
  • 250 ml. (1 cup)     milk
  • 1                               slice bread, either white or whole wheat work well
  • 2                              eggs
  • 12.5 ml. (1 tbsp)   curry powder
  • 18.5 ml. (1.5 tbsp) sugar
  • 10 ml. (2 tsp)         salt ( I usually add less)
  • 2.5 ml. (0.5 tsp)    pepper
  • 6 ml. (0.5 tbsp)     turmeric
  • 25 ml (2 tbsp)       vinegar, or juice of one lemon or lime
  • 6                              almonds, quartered
  • 125 ml (0.5 cup)   seeded raisins
  • 4                               lime, lemon or bay leaves or grated rind of 1 lemon or lime.
  • 37.5 ml. (3 tbsp)    chutney (I usually use mango)


1.    Simmer onion slices in a little boiling water until swollen and glassy. Finely chop them and brown slightly.

2.    Soak bread in milk, then remove and squeeze out liquid and reserve. Crumb bread.

3.    Combine all ingredients except 1 egg, ½ cup of the milk and the lime leaves.

4.    Place mixture in a greased, fireproof baking dish.

Bobotie: prepared and ready for the oven.

Bobotie: mixed and ready for the oven.

5.     Roll the lime leaves and insert them into the meat mixture in an upright position.

6.    Bake in moderate oven at 180 C (350 F) for 1.5 hours if using raw meat or 45 minutes if using cooked meat.

For the last 1/2 hour of baking, top meat loaf with beaten egg and remaining milk.

For the last 1/2 hour of baking, top meat loaf with remaining egg, beaten, and 1/2 c milk.

7.    Beat the remaining egg with the leftover milk and pour over the meat about 1/2 hour before the end of baking time.

Serve baked Bobotie with rice and more chutney.

Serve baked Bobotie with rice and more chutney.

Serve with rice and more chutney.


  • I often make the meat mixture the night before so it’s all ready to pop in the oven.
  • Sometimes I skip cooking the onions first.”

I forgot to ask Debby how many servings this makes, but I’m guessing 4 – 6, depending on the fat content the ground meat used.

If you are on your own and not feeding a growing young man, you could experiment with baking the recipe in mega-muffin tins and freezing the extras (wrapped in foil) for a quick supper later. Try baking for 1/3 of the recommended time and then use your instant-read food thermometer to keep testing the internal temperature of each mini-meatloaf. For beef, lamb, veal and pork you want to reach an internal temperature of 160 F. For ground chicken, you are aiming for an internal temperature of 165 F.

And unlike this cook, Debby can manage to cook a lovely meal while enjoying a glass of wine. She can also groove to the beat when whipping up a delicious supper. She had a Cesaria Evora soundtrack playing in the background. How savvy is that?

When Savvy Singles Suppers returns . . . strategies for feeding yourself when you’re sick!


3 Responses to “Guest Post: “Bobotie” — South African Meatloaf”

  1. Debby Simpson April 14, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Thanks for the lovely words. You are right. 4 to 6 servings works. It’s also been popular as a potluck item with my colleagues over the years.

  2. htc themes April 16, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    Hey There. I discovered your blog using msn. This is a really smartly written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read extra of your helpful information. Thank you for the post. I will certainly return.

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