James Bond Food bobotie


In Jeffery Deaver’s Carte Blanche (2011), James Bond visits the home in Cape Town of police officer Bheka Jourdaan, and is offered a plate of homemade bobotie with sambal sauce. The dish reminds Bond of shepherd’s pie and is tastier than any pie he’s ever had in England.

Bobotie is a traditional South African dish that’s made with minced beef or lamb, flavoured with spices and fruit, topped with a milk and egg mixture and baked in the oven. It’s perhaps more reminiscent of moussaka than shepherd’s pie, and like moussaka (and shepherd’s pie, for that matter) there are many variations. It’s therefore a good dish to make during the period of ‘lockdown’ and shopping restrictions, as one can use store-cupboard ingredients and whatever happens to be in the fridge.

Serves four

  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 30g sultanas
  • 30g peeled and grated apple
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp barbecue sauce
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 300ml beef or vegetable stock
  • Breadcrumbs from 1 slice of bread (c 35-40g)

For the topping

  • 200ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Breadcrumbs from 1 slice of bread (c 35-40g)

Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan-assisted, 375F). In a saucepan or large frying pan, heat the oil, then fry the onions over a medium heat until they begin to soften. Add the mince and the garlic and continue to fry until the meat has browned. Stir in the sultanas and apple, then the curry powder, vinegar, bay leaf, barbecue sauce, and black pepper. After about a minute, pour in the stock. Allow the liquid to simmer for a couple of minutes and reduce slightly, then mix in the breadcrumbs. When the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and tip the contents of the pan into an oven dish.

In a bowl, whisk the milk, the breadcrumbs from the second slice of bread and eggs together until they are well combined. Pour the mixture over the meat, then place the oven dish into the oven. (My frying pan is oven-proof, so I used that instead of an oven dish.) Cook for 30-40 minutes, until the topping has risen and is firm and has browned. Remove the dish from the oven.

Serve with rice and sambal sauce, if you have it (mango chutney is a good alternative).

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