Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Boil lentils in water with 1 cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf and 3 sprigs of thyme until soft. Rinse and drain well. Set aside.
Mix breadcrumbs with 1 cup milk and 1 tsp turmeric. Set aside for 10 minutes.
In a large pot heat the oil and add the onions, garlic, thyme, celery, ginger and carrot. Sauté until soft, but not brown. Add the mushrooms, curry powder, turmeric, cumin and paprika. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cooked lentils and soy sauce. Sauté for 2-3 minutes for lentils to absorb flavours.
Add the tomato and simmer for 5-8 minutes. Add the chutney, vinegar, sultanas and salt. Stir in milk and bread mixture. Continue to simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove from heat; season with salt, pepper, parsley and zest. Divide mixture amongst 10 large ramekins or in a large black pot or casserole dish. Beat the 4 eggs and 2 cups milk well together. Pour the milk mixture over the top of the lentils.
Decorate with leaves and whole almonds. Bake bobotie for 15-20 min until egg is set.
Serve with sambals, vegetables on the side and yellow rice.