Screen Shot 2019-09-19 at 12.50.52Bobotie is a South African classic and an important part of our culinary heritage. It’s also one of my favourite meals, but this doesn’t make me special: everybody loves bobotie. As with many other South African cult hits, the best and original way is in a potjie on a braai fire. I believe it’s your moral duty to perfect the art of making bobotie. It’s a great way to show off when you cook for visitors to South Africa. And here you have a version that is vegetarian.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 6)

  • 500 g lentils (I like the multicoloured pack but any will do)
  • 2 tots olive oil
  • 3 onions (finely chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)
  • 1 tot medium-strength curry powder
  • ½ tot ground turmeric
  • ½ tot salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup almond flakes
  • 1 tot vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice (to serve – this is usually spot-on for 6 people once cooked)
  • chutney (to serve)


  1. Place the lentils in your potjie on the fire with enough water to cover them, and simmer until soft for about 20 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a flat-bottomed potjie over a medium-hot fire and fry the onions and garlic until the onions are soft but not brown.
  3. Add the curry powder and turmeric, then fry for a minute – the bottom of the potjie will look quite dry so pay attention and don’t let the mixture burn.
  4. Add the cooked lentils and fry for a few minutes, mixing everything together.
  5. Add the salt and pepper, apricot jam, raisins, almond flakes and vinegar/ lemon juice. Stir well, bring to a slow simmer and put on the lid. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring once in a while to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn.
  6. Now remove the lid and flatten the mixture with the back of your spoon so that it’s even across the bottom of the potjie. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a small mixing bowl, then pour over the bobotie. Stick the bay leaves into the egg mixture. Cover with the lid and put a layer of hot coals on top of the lid. At this stage, you only want coals on the lid, not underneath the potjie. Bake like this for 30 minutes and then your bobotie is ready.
  7. Serve with rice and chutney on the side.


Many seasoned bobotie eaters also like sliced banana, coconut or chopped tomatoes with their bobotie. Serve whichever sambals you prefer.




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