This minced meat lamb pie with curry and condiments is a textural-and-flavor-bomb-filled family meal that is not too spicy and just right with the sweet savory balance of the wildly popular South African dish with a Moroccan flair. The dried fruit and nuts, the tomato sambal, and (if you feel as if carbs are necessary) raisin studded yellow rice morph into a family meal good enough for Sunday supper and an in-your-back-pocket recipe for making in advance dinner recipe for friends. While there are plenty of ingredients, the method is easy and fun. Most versions put the almonds inside the pie and have no mention of figs. This chef, however, is a proponent eating and cooking with ingredients you love even if a bit outside of tradition.

cuisine South African
difficulty Moderate
season Year Round
serves 8

Ingredients for the bobotie

  • 4 slices bread, crusts removed
  • 2 cups half and half
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons madras curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup mango chutney
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dried apricots, 1/4" dice
  • 1 cup dried figs, soak in hot water 15 minutes and then thinly slice
  • 2 medium granny smith apples, thinly sliced
  • 5 fresh bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 large eggs

Ingredients for the sambal

  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, leaves and stems finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions for the bobotie

  1. Cut the crust off the bread. Place the bread in a shallow bowl and pour the milk over it. Leave to soak.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of oil on low heat in a large frying pan and add the onions and garlic. Sautee for 10 minutes, or until the onion has softened and just begins to brown.
  3. Add the curry powder, turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander, ginger,  mango chutney, and lemon zest and juice. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl.
  4. Return the pan to the stove, add the ground lamb, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, and cook until browned.
  5. Add the onion mixture to the cooked lamb and stir in half of the raisins, fig slices, and apricots. Cook for two minutes and stir to evenly distribute the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spoon half of the mixture into an ovenproof dish. Distribute apple slices over the surface and sprinkle with half of the almond slices.
  7. Spoon the other half of the lamb mixture over the apple slices. 
  8. In a bowl, whisk the half and half and eggs. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and. 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour the mixture over lamb and add the rest of the fruit and nuts to the top.
  9. Place the lamb pie on the center rack of the oven for 40 minutes. Cover the pie with foil if it appears the bobotie is browning too much.
  10. Remove the pie from the oven and distribute fresh bay leaves on the top to make a nice presentation. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Directions for the sambal

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  3. At the table pass the sambal to spoon on top of the bobotie at the table once each plate has been served.