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Cape Malay Meat Loaf

An enduring culinary legacy of colonial South Africa, this meat loaf with its custardy topping, called bobotie in Afrikaans, combines the twin Cape Malay loves for dried fruits and Eastern spices. It is traditionally served with yellow rice sweetened with honey. This version is from the Institute of Culinary Arts just outside Stellenbosch.

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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8

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  • 3 slices of white bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 apple, peeled and shredded
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup mango chutney
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the bread in a medium bowl, pour the milk over it and let stand until the bread is completely moistened, about 15 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook over high heat for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the carrot and apple and cook over moderate heat for 3 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the lamb and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Stir in the raisins, chutney, jam and vinegar and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Squeeze the milk from the bread cubes and add the bread to the lamb mixture; reserve the milk. With a fork, mash the bread into the lamb until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the lamb mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and smooth the surface.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and the reserved milk and pour the mixture evenly over the lamb. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the custard is set. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Suggested Pairing

A fruity Shiraz from Paarl will play off the sweet, fruity notes in this dish. Or, opt for a Pinotage from Stellenbosch with deep mulberry-like flavors.

Published May 2004

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