Traditional South African Babotie

 This dish is simple and only requires a few ingredients, most of which you already have at home. Ground beef flavored with some warm spices, sweetened with some apricot jam and chutney, sprinkled with green peas, and finished off with a bit of scrambled egg make this dish so unique, while warm and comforting. 

It is perfect served over rice with a few toppings like toasted coconut, dried fruit, and some toasted almonds, and even more chutney. This plate of goodness reminds me of my time South Africa, and everyone who I've served this to has loved it. 

I am pleased to present to you - South African Babotie! (Pronounced: "bah-boo-tee")

Back in 2018, I flew to South Africa to spend a couple weeks of my summer there with a missionary family near Johannesburg. After an insanely long travel day(s), I finally landed in South Africa, where the Marsh family picked me up from the airport. I was majorly jet lagged and exhausted, but I was also starving. 

When we arrived at their home, I walked in to this overwhelmingly delicious smell of curry and spices. This was my first experience with Babotie, and I knew from that day forward it would become a favorite of mine. This was my first meal after landing in a new country on a brand new continent... all by myself at 17 years old, and I will always think of Auntie Esther whipping this up after my arrival and how comforting it was to my soul.

^ This is the first time I ever tried it. I quickly snapped this photo before I scarfed the whole plate down.

Their home smelled of spices, peach chutney, and roasted Garam Masala. There was no other way to be welcomed to South Africa - I guarantee. We all sat down at the table around 9pm (South Africa time) my body was telling me that all we wanted to do was sleep, but it was a phenomenal meal. I made a mental note to ask Auntie Esther for the recipe. 


I loved it so much that Cherith, one of the daughters & a dear friend of mine, showed me how to make it, and we ate it for another meal later during my stay. I told you.. it's just that good. And, it's a South African staple dish, especially in their particular community. Each community prepares their's differently, but this is how Auntie Esther makes her incredible Babotie. And, this is the only way for me!

Ingredients You'll Need:

- Ground Meat: Traditionally, Auntie Esther uses ground beef, but I think has also used ground lamb. I also love this with ground turkey, as well.

- Onion & Garlic

- Garam Masala: Garam Masala essentially means a spice blend, just as "curry powder" does. These are both blends of warm spices, while each blend uses different types of warm spices. I use a Roasted Garam Masala blend that I have from South Africa. You can make your own Garam Masala blend or you can purchase one from the regular or Indian grocery store. There are many recipes online for homemade blends that all vary slightly. It depends on personal preference. Each family's blend is slightly different. So, pick a garam masala and get to cooking! 

- Salt & Pepper

- Apricot Preserves or Jam: This adds a touch of sweetness to our meat mixture.

- Peach Chutney or Regular Chutney: We love the Mrs. HS Ball's Brand, and it's a South African Staple. You can find it on Amazon, World Market, or at Publix!! (in the International Section) We definitely prefer the peach chutney, if you can find it. It's worth the hunt.. it's that delicious.

- Frozen Green Peas

- Egg with a splash of milk 



Traditional Topping Ideas:

- Toasted Nuts : We specifically love sliced or slivered almonds

- Dried Fruit : I love golden raisins or the "Golden Berry" blend from Trader Joe's with Dried Cranberries, Cherries, Blueberries, and Golden Raisins

- Toasted Coconut

- Peach or Regular Chutney : We love the Mrs. HS Ball's Chutney. It's from South Africa, but it's the best. You can find it on Amazon, at World Market, or at Publix. There are also recipes out there for chutneys, too. I need to try my hand at it sometime soon.

If something else sticks out to you - try it out! Let me know what you try & what you love to add to your Babotie. 


What does Babotie taste like?

It's warming, comforting, savory, and a touch sweet. With the added toppings, this dish is complete with a perfect variety of textures that make all your tastebuds happy.

Your home will fill with the most delicious smell as you prepare this meal, thanks to the garam masala spice blend. It's packed with flavor, warm spices that are not spicy-hot, and is not too overly-exotic for those picky eaters in the family. 

Just give it a try! You might be very surprised with how much you love it.


made the recipe?

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1 comment

  1. This is so good. It’s like a warm hug on a cold day. I highly recommend making this.