Bobotie, a meat casserole similar to the Greek moussaka, is the national dish of South Africa. In his book “Recipes: African Cooking (Foods of the World),” South African writer Laurens van der Post describes bobotie, sosaties (spiced meat skewers) and bredie (meat stew) as the “trinity of South African cuisine.” A traditional and simple meal, bobotie has many variations. Some cooks add almonds and raisins. In her book “Where Is It?,” Hildagonda Duckitt suggests adding a teaspoon of sugar and an ounce of tamarind water for a tart flavor.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet and add the sliced onion. Sautee until translucent.
Add garlic and ground beef. Cook the beef until thoroughly cooked and crumbly. Drain excess fat.
Break the bread into small cubes and soak in milk for five to 10 minutes. Squeeze out excess milk and reserve.
Combine beef and onions, bread, curry powder, turmeric and salt. Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish and place the bay leaves on top. Bake for half an hour.
Beat the eggs with the reserved milk. Pour the egg mixture over the casserole. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the custard is set.