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Prep 30 mins
Cooking 1 hr 10 mins
Serves 2-4

With its mild curry flavour, pleasant fruity sweetness and savoury baked eggy topping, bobotie is a firm family favourite. It’s super easy to make too, thanks to our Cape Herb & Spice Cape Malay Exotic Spice blend that takes the guessing out of getting the spice just right. But baked in a casserole with a custard blankie is by no means the only way to approach bobotie. Have some fun with your food and make a basic bobotie mince to stuff in phyllo pastry. The traditional raisins could be added to the mince to be sure, but we left them out – and introduced that much-loved sweet edge with a quick dried fruit chutney.


Make the chutney first. Simply add all the chutney ingredients together and simmer it over a very low heat with the lid on for about 20 minutes until the dried fruit it soft and the mixture resembles the consistency of chutney.

To make the bobotie phyllo crackers, start by frying the onion in vegetable oil or ghee over medium heat until soft. Add the beef and fry over high heat without stirring for a few minutes. This will enable the mince to start caramelizing, which is the key to building loads of umami flavour. Once the mince is nicely browned, add the spice and garlic and fry for a further minute. Break up the soaked bread and add it to the mince along with the bay leaves, water, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes. You want a thick mince that is not at all watery so that it can go into the phyllo pastry without soaking it. The slice of bread will help to thicken it nicely, but if it is still too liquid towards the end of cooking, simply lift the lid and continue cooking until it’s thick. Allow the mince to cool slightly. Once cool, remove the bay leaves and stir in the toasted almonds. Taste and add more salt if need be.

Lay 2-3 sheets of phyllo pastry out on a work surface. Paint each sheet with melted butter before adding the next. Decide how long you want your bobotie crackers to be and cut squares. (We worked with 20cm squares.) Scoop mince in a sausage shape in the middle of the phyllo, taking care to leave quite a few centimetres open all around. Roll closed to form a fat cigar shape, then pinch the two ends closed so you end up with a Christmas cracker shape.  Brush very lightly with a bit of melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds if using. Place on a non-stick baking tray and bake at 180 ˚C until golden. Serve right away with the chutney.

Recipe concept & photography by Lizet Hartley.

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at