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Bobotie (South African Curried Mince)

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Bobotie is a traditional South African dish with Cape Malay origins. It’s amazingly aromatic and has a delicious sweet and savory profile. To me it just reminds me of winter comfort food.

Being born in Australia, I don’t think I appreciated how differently we ate at home was compared to my white Aussie friends. We tended to eat meals that were punched up with flavour, braaied (Afrikaans for BBQ) a lot and rarely ate the 80/90s style pan fried meat and three veg cooked to an inch of existence and baked mush.

Bobotie reminds me of my grandfather who was the king of curries. Bobotie is not a hot spicy curry. It’s spiced and has a sweetness but tanginess to it, so it was one of the few curries that he made that I enjoyed as a little kid still developing a palette for heat.

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What is Bobotie?

It typically consists of spiced minced meat, such as beef or lamb, mixed with onions, curry powder and depending on your family may contain dried fruits and nuts (mine does not, because I think it’s weird). The mixture is topped with a mixture of egg and milk custard before being baked until set.

Beef or lamb or vego

I’m sure I’m going to get shot saying this, but this is a prime candidate recipe for the Quorn vegetarian mince. I’ve done a mix of meat mince and Quorn to add some additional fibre and veg serving for the day.

When my grandfather made it I remember him using lamb mince. But when my mom made it, she would use beef. I think that’s more to do with the fact her and my sister never liked lamb. But it’s made with either lamb or beef and its equally delicious.

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Ketofying bobotie

Traditionally Bobotie is made with chutney. Which to a South African means Mrs Balls. Mrs Balls chutney is amazingly delicious and is the grown up version of chutneys we get in Australia. Sadly it is also packed with sugar (like most South African sauces). Versions of Bobotie that contain fruit typically have apricots and/or saltanas (which I’ve always just found gross, but each to their own). It also has milk soaked bread mixed through the meat mix which gives it texture, neither of which are keto.

Chutney substitutes

For keto chutneys and jams, my go to is Aunty Mary’s Jams. They’re a boutique Aussie jam maker that uses real ingredients and no crap. They’re all sugar free using Xylitol as the sweetener (note Xylitol is toxic for pets). In this recipe I use the Aunty Mary’s Tomato Relish and their Apricot Jam which is close to the flavour profile of Mrs Ball’s Chutney. I buy mine from Yo Keto which is an family-owned Aussie keto store online. They also have shop in Cheltenham, Melbourne Australia. They’ve got a fabulous range and reliable stock levels.

  • Aunty Mary’s Tomato Relish is from Yo Keto and is keto friendly, sweetened with Xylitol. It’s otherwise all whole ingredients and clean.
  • Aunty Mary’s Apricot Jam is also from Yo Keto and is keto friendly, sweetened with Xylitol. It’s otherwise all whole ingredients and clean.
  • Made With Kombucha Tomato Relish is a range available at Coles and Woolies and does have added sugar and some sugar from the sultanas.
  • Bonne Maman Apricot Spread has reduced sugar compared to most jams and works out to be 7.80g carbs/100g. It’s probably the lowest sugar/carb content I’ve found that tastes reasonable.

To keep it keto, without using Aunty Mary’s Jams (or another sugar free brand), you can add 1 tbsp of Brown Monkfruit (Golden Monkfruit and Classic works too but the brown adds more of a caramel base flavour) and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. It’s not perfect but does give you the sweet and the a bit of zing that the chutney would otherwise add to the recipe.

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Bobotie (South African Curried Mince)

Bobotie is a traditional South African dish with Cape Malay origins. It's amazingly aromatic and has a delicious sweet and savory profile. To me it just reminds me of winter comfort food.
Servings 4

Ingredients

Babotie Mince Base

Savory Custard

  • 1 tin Coconut Cream (240mL)
  • 4 Egg (Large)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Instructions

Babotie Mince Base

  • Peel and dice onion.
  • Heat frying pan with ghee and sweat down the onion until translucent. I prefer to do this on a low to medium heat to caramalise the onion more.
  • Add spices to the pan with the onion and toast until fragrant. It's important to toast the spices, it enhances the flavour and stops a grainy uncooked flavour at the end.
  • Add the garlic and mince to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently to break up any big chunks, until browned. Stir through the hemp seeds.
  • While the mince is browning, add the beef stock, chutney and apricot jam to a jug and mix until combined.
  • Add the stock mix to the pan with the mince, mix through, add the bay leaves and leave to reduce on a low heat.

Savory Custard

  • In a mixing bowl or large measuring jug, whisk the coconut cream and eggs together. Season to taste.
  • Transfer the mince mix to an oven proof bowl. Gently pour the cream mix over the top of the mince and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes at 170℃. The custard should be set and cooked through with a tiny bit of a jiggle.

Notes

  • Beef and lamb mince both work beautifully. This is also a prime candidate recipes for the Quorn vegetarian mince. I've done a mix of meat mince and Quorn to add some additional fibre and veg serving for the day.
  • You can sub out coconut cream with full cream. I prefer the taste of the coconut with the curry but both are lovely.
  • The super smart way to do this is in a cast iron skillet which means one pot cooking. Cook the mince in the pan, add the custard and then bake in the pan. My oven is possessed so I have to use the air fryer. But whenever possible, I've done it all in the one pan (and that's the way Oupa always cooked it too!). 
Disclaimer: No Spoons to Cook is based on our own experience and research, and what we know works best for us. It is not medical advice. Our recipes focus on low inflammatory ingredients, whole foods and are founded in ketogenic and low carb ways of eating. We encourage spoonies to stay curious, ask questions, do your own research, listen to your body and to work with a Registered Dietitian or Medical Professional when appropriate to tailor your nutritional needs to support your care plan and goals.

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