The South-African dish bobotie is a rather more exotic version of shepherd’s pie, lightly flavoured with curry spices and covered with savoury custard.


  • 1 slice of white bread
  • 300 ml/ ½ pt milk
  • 170 g/ 6 oz onion, diced
  • 30 g/ 1 oz butter, plus more for the dish
  • 1 sharp dessert apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 tbsp medium-hot curry powder
  • 450 g/ 1 lb minced lamb
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • 30 g/ 1 oz flaked almonds
  • 30 g/ 1 oz sultanas
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 lime or fresh bay leaves


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/ gas 4. Tear the slice of bread up into a small bowl and cover it with the milk.

Over a low heat, sweat the diced onion in the butter until soft and translucent. Add the apple and curry powder and continue to cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

In a bowl and using a fork, mix this spiced onion and apple mixture with the lamb, mango chutney, flaked almonds, sultanas, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Squeeze the bread dry, reserving the milk, and mix this through the meat mixture. Then spoon it into a buttered, ovenproof dish. This should be large enough to give you 2.5 cm / 1 inch between the surface of the meat and the rim of the dish. Put to bake for 15 minutes.

Whisk the eggs with the reserved milk and the mustard powder, salt and pepper. Pour over the meat, sit the lime or bay leaves on top and continue cooking for 25–30 minutes, or until the custard is just set.