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Bobotie Meatballs: For the Modern South African Expat

By September 25, 2020January 17th, 2023Newsletter

Bobotie Meatballs: For the Modern South African Expat

September 25, 2020


What is one of the most “South African” dishes you can think of? For most people, bobotie comes to mind instantly. Over the years, bobotie has been a staple in the average South African household, but if you’re living abroad, you probably never even hear the word “bobotie” uttered anymore, unless you’re reminiscing of good food and times back home.

What exactly is bobotie? In terms of definitions, Wikipedia will tell you that bobotie is “a well-known South African dish consisting of spiced ground mincemeat baked with egg-based topping”. Foreigners can best understand what bobotie is if you describe it as the South African version of meat loaf. While it’s not quite the same, it is close enough!

As a modern South African expat, you’re probably dying to find ways to incorporate those good old fashioned traditional Saffa dishes into your diet. Or perhaps you just want to wow your new friends and colleagues with the type of meal that has their taste buds buzzing. Either way, we have a bobotie recipe with a twist for you: bobotie meatballs!


Bobotie Recipe: Bobotie Meatballs

The good news is that a bobotie meatballs recipe is very similar to a traditional bobotie recipe except it’s served as a type of meatball bake. If you have made bobotie before, you will know that it can be whipped up in a jiffy. Just because it’s quick and easy to make doesn’t mean that you will compromising on taste! Enough waffling about it, let’s dive right into making it!


What You Need to Make Bobotie Meatballs

First, you need to gather the following ingredients…

  • 1kg of mince (beef)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 onions (sliced thinly)
  • 1 slice of brown bread
  • 20ml of curry powder
  • 10ml of turmeric
  • 30ml of olive oil
  • 30ml of white wine vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 15ml of apricot jam
  • 15ml of Worcestershire sauce
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper


What You Need for the Egg Topping:

  • 3 eggs
  • 375ml of milk
  • Salt to taste


What to Do:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Soak the bread in a cup of milk in a shallow dish or bowl – the bread must soak right through.
  • When the bread is soaked through and feels soft/tender, mash it up with a fork.
  • In a pan, heat the oil and sauté the onions until they are soft and starting to look see-through.
  • Add the turmeric, curry powder and apricot jam to the pan and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Place the mashed bread into a large bowl and mix the mince thoroughly into it.
  • Add the contents of the pan to the bowl of mince and bread and mix thoroughly again. It should form a meatball mixture that is easy to work with.
  • Using your hands or a spoon, shape the mixture into small balls and place them in a greased oven dish or pan.
  • Toss the bay leaves on top of the meatballs and pop the oven dish into the oven. Bake for around 15 minutes and then remove the dish from the oven.
  • Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper for the egg topping together in a bowl or a jug.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the meatballs and return the dish to the oven and bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes. You will know that it is ready when the top is a golden brown colour.

And that’s it; easy, right?! But what do you serve with bobotie meatballs? Let’s take a look at a few examples of bobotie meatball sides below.


Sides That Go Best With Bobotie Meatballs

What delectable side dishes will complement your bobotie meatballs best? Here’s a few of our favourites.

  • Fresh coleslaw. You can make your own by grating cabbage and carrots in equal quantities, throwing a few raisins into the bowl along with a spoon or two of mayo and some salt to taste. Mix well and you are good to go!
  • Fresh green salad with lettuce, coriander, tomato, and grated carrot. A squeeze of fresh lemon acts as a great salad dressing with this pairing.
  • Yellow rice. This is a Cape Malay dish that’s simple yet delicious. It’s made by cooking 1 cup of long grain white rice in ½ teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons white sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ cup black raisins, 1 tablespoon of butter, and 2 ½ cups of water.
  • Steamed green beans.
  • Condiments such as Mrs Balls Chutney, desiccated coconut, and sliced banana.
  • Veggie couscous. This is made by steaming cubed mixed veggies and cooking couscous as per normal and then mixing them up to form a couscous veggie mix. Simple but delicious!


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Moving to a new country is a big deal. It’s such a big deal that you might be caught up in all the aspects of a major move, but, what about the finer details of your financial and tax emigration from South Africa? Do you even know how to access your retirement annuity funds when you are abroad? At FinGlobal, we take care of these finer financial intricacies while you focus on getting yourself moved and settled in your new “home” country. We have helped many South African expats across the globe with their financial matters when emigrating – and we can help you too. For more information and advice, simply contact us. Give us a call or send us an email and we will assist you further.