Gem Squash Bobotie

6-8 Servings


This recipe combines two favourite South African things: our Durban Curry and Gem Squash; a small, hard skinned squash that many South Africans adore. Gem squash is mild in flavour and is usually boiled or steamed then served with butter or creamed corn. Bobotie is a  South African dish similar to moussaka, where spiced ground meat is balanced with sweetness from a bit of fruit.

In North Vancouver, African Breese gets a supply of Gem Squash in the fall. They will keep most of the winter so you can keep enjoying this dish.


4 medium Gem squash (or substitute small Delicata squash)

2 tsp butter

2 tsp brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Squash Filling:

1/4 cup raisins

6 dried apricots, chopped

1 TBL butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2-4 tsp Durban Curry (depending on desired heat)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 slice stale bread, torn into 1″ pieces

1/4 cup milk

1 lb lean ground beef (or lamb)

Salt and pepper to taste

4 bay leaves, halved

Mornay Sauce to top:

2 TBL flour

2 TBL butter

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Pinch nutmeg

For Garnish




Put raisins and chopped apricots into a cup and cover with boiling water.


Prepare squash by removing stem and cutting in half around the middle. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Rub inside with a little butter or olive oil, brown sugar and salt & pepper. Set squash into a 9 x 13″ baking pan.


Heat butter in a fry pan and sauté onion over medium heat for 10 minutes until it begins to change colour.


Add Durban curry and cook 1 minute.


Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.


Drain the fruit reserving the water and adding it into the bottom of the baking dish where the squash is prepared. Add raisins and apricots to the onions along with a bit of salt. Stir to combine. Remove from heat.


Preheat oven to 375°F.


Put the milk in a large bowl and add the stale bread. After milk is absorbed mash the bread with a fork. Add the onion mixture, stir until well combined. Add the ground meat, salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently with a wooden spoon to combine, being careful not to over blend.


Divide the mixture into 8 portions and fill each of the squashes with a portion of the meat mixture. Insert half a bay leaf into the top of each. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, prepare Mornay sauce to top squashes.


Melt butter in a small sauce pan.


Add the flour. Whisk and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.


Add in the milk a bit at a time whisking continuously to combine.


Once all the milk is incorporated, stir continuously until it begins to bubble then season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in grated parmesan cheese and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir until combined.


Remove baking dish from the oven and uncover. Top each squash with some of the sauce. Return to the oven and cook another 20-25 minutes until nice and golden. Put under the broiler for a minute if you want it more browned.


Let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving with a side of Fragrant Rice and green vegetables.

Spices Used: Durban Curry