Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Traditional Mieliepap

I often make mieliepap for my husband to enjoy as a light meal. Above was a case in point. Instead of eating it with grilled meat and tomato and onion relish, he asked for steamed spinach!
One thing that struck me when I lived in West Africa, was the fact that the local people didn’t eat (or even know)” Mieliepap” there. The staple diet in that part of the continent was rice. Living up there and as South Africans we enjoyed mieliepap with a braai (barbeque) so we’d have to take this heavy item back with us in our luggage.

I’ve seen Lynda posting about puthu and maize meal, so it’s obviously

available in Tanzania. Is there anybody in North or Central Africa reading this post, who can tell me if they are able to get this food-stuff in their part of Africa? I know that it is available in Basingstoke, in the UK. My brother-in-law, who had a large and very successful South African butchers in that area, imported all manner of South African products for sale, one being Mieliemeal.

Mieliepap is staple starch eaten by most South Africans. It is maize which has been ground into flour. It is cooked slowly with water

on top of the stove, depending what type of pap (porridge) you require. You can have mielie porridge: thick, creamy and runny. Else you may have puthu (pronounced poo-too) which is crumbly and slightly dry. Or you can have it in stodgy/sticky lumps called sadza, (pronounced sudzu – with the *a's* as *u's* in *sun*) by which you take a handful of the cooked maize, form a lump by carefully squeezing it in your palm, dip it into tomato and onion gravy and enjoy.

Most of the above cooking methods are long (ranging from 1 – 2 ½ hours). However, a few months ago my husband and I were in Ndumu Game Reserve in Northern Kwa Zulu Natal with his brother and sister-in-law. One evening after a wonderful day of birding (my s.i.l. is a bird fundi and a wonderful guide to have along on a trip such as this one)

and game watching in the bush, we came home exhausted and hungry. The men (as all South African men do,) quickly lit a fire outside our huts and proceeded to braai a selection of meat. My sister-in-law who is a wonderful baker, but a self-confessed non-cook, offered to make the mieliepap. I mentally rolled my eyes, thinking we’d never have supper that night (ha!) Nevertheless, she made a bowl of steaming “sadsa / puthu” within a few minutes - 6 minutes, in fact.

It was deilicious.

Mieliepap - a la sis

2 1/2 Cups boiling water
1 Cup Braaipap* meal
1 t salt

Mix all ingredients together in a plastic bowl
Microwave on high power for 4 – 6 minutes.
Stir after a minute.
At 3 minutes add ½ tin Cream-style Sweet Corn (optional)
When cooked, add a blob of butter and mix through with a fork.
Serve with tomato and onion relish

*Note: Braaipap is a coarse maizemeal, yellow in colour with bits of gritty mielies in it. Ironically, although this maizemeal is very popular with white South Africans it’s not so with black people. They prefer their maize meal to be superfine (the packet must state this) and snowy white.


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  2. I had never heard of this type of food, seems like it takes a long time to make I do hope it tastes really lovely. Would like to try it some day.

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