African Recipes


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Traditional South African recipes mostly originate from early English, French, German and Malay settlers. However, the indigenous ethnic tribes were here long before the settlers and they have their own traditional culinary culture. My definition: If you can't pronounce the name of the dish, it's Traditional African. Thanx to Mary Maetla for her contributions.

Meal Recipes and Kitchen Ideas


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Tripe and Tomato Sauce
Ulusu Lwenkomo (Stewed Ox Tripe)
Imbuya Omelette
Umngqusho (Samp and Beans)
Isophu (Bean and Corn Soup)
African Spinach
Beef Stew
Inyama Yenkukhu (Chicken Casserole)
Inyama Yegusha (Mutton Casserole)
Masonja (Mopane Worms)
Ujeqe lwe mpama (Steamed Dumplings)
Stewed Cane Rat  
Fish Parcels  
Sour Porridge (Imbila)  
Maize with mixed vegetables (Umfino)
Ntomo Krakro (Sweet Potato Fritters)


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Tripe and Tomato Sauce

1.5 tripe, pre-cooked and cubed
5ml (1tsp) salt
15ml (1T) lemon juice

Tomato sauce: 
60ml (4T) oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 x 115g can tomato paste
1 x 410g can chopped tomatoes
250ml (1 cup) dry wine
30ml (2T) sugar

Wash and rinse tripe thoroughly. Place in cold water, add salt and
lemon juice. Bring to boil and simmer gently for 2 hours or until tender.

To make sauce: 
Heat oil and add remaining ingredients and simmer for
15 minutes. Drain tripe and add to tomato sauce.
Cook for a further 20 minutes.
Serve hot with samp or maize rice.

Ulusu Lwenkomo (Stewed Ox Tripe)

1 kg stomach (ulusu)
1 kg intestines (amathumbu)
salt and pepper to taste

Clean stomach and intestines thoroughly and rinse under cold running water. Place in saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for three hours or until very soft.

Imbuya Omelette

3 large eggs
125ml (1/2) cooked imbuya (morogo) or spinach
125ml (1/2 cup cooked mielies (off cob) or canned whole kernel corn
4 chopped mint leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
30ml (2T) atchar
45ml (3T) chopped spring onions

Beat eggs together with imbuya, half the mielies, chopped mint, salt
and pepper. Heat oil in non-stick frying pan. Pour egg mixture into pan and slide from side to side until pan is completely covered. Cook until bottom is set, lifting sides so that raw mixture runs nderneath.
Cook until base is brown, then remove from pan by carefully sliding
omlette onto warm serving dish.
While hot, spoon remaining mielies, atchar and spring onions onto
half of omelette and fold other filling.
Serve immediately (Serves 4)

Umngqusho (Samp and Beans)

1 kg samp and bean mix, rinsed and soaked overnight

Onion Mixture
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
2 ml whole cloves
5 ml allspice
2 ml nutmeg
black pepper
50 ml butter (optional)

Pour off the water after soaking and place the samp and bean mix in a large saucepan. Cover with water and simmer slowly until the samp and beans are nearly soft and most of the water has evaporated. (Add extra water if necessary.) Season well with salt. In the meantime sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil until soft. Add the cloves and allspice. Add the onion mixture and continue to simmer until the samp mix is completely soft.
Season with nutmeg and black pepper and extra salt to taste if necessary. Stir in the butter. Serve hot with meat and gravy if desired. Serves 10-12.

Isophu (Bean and Corn Soup)

500 ml sugar beans
500 ml fresh corn off the cob
10 ml salt
1 l water

Bring water to the boil, add sugar beans, corn and salt. Reduce heat and simmer gently for two hours, adding water when necessary. Cook until beans and corn are soft.

African Spinach

2 bunches spinach
250 ml water
2 ml salt
50 g peanuts

Clean the spinach in cold water. Remove the stalks and discard. Chop the leaves. Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan, add the chopped leaves. Cook until wilted.
Meanwhile roast the peanuts in a frying pan then add the salt.
Add the peanuts to the cooked spinach and simmer until well blended. Serve with mealie pap.

Beef Stew

30 ml oil
500 g beef, cubed
6 tomatoes, grated
250 ml coconut, milk
chopped dhania
chillies, chopped
salt to taste

Heat oil and brown the beef. Add remaining ingredients and simmer gently until meat is cooked - about 45 minutes.

Inyama Yenkukhu (Chicken Casserole)

1 whole chicken (umleqwa - chicken slaughtered at home)
60 ml oil
4 medium onions, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
75 ml flour

Cut chicken into pieces. Heat oil and fry until golden brown. Add onions and cook for five minutes. Add tomatoes and seasoning, simmer gently for 45 minutes or until cooked through. Thicken casserole with flour mixed with a bit of cold water.

Inyama Yegusha (Mutton Casserole)

60 ml oil
1 kg mutton, cut into pieces
4 medium onions, chopped
500 g carrots, sliced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
125 ml flour

Heat oil and brown meat. Add onions, carrots, tomatoes and seasoning. Simmer gently for 45 minutes or until meat is cooked and tender. Mix flour with a little water to form a paste and add to casserole. Continue to simmer until thick.


While on holiday recently I came across the following recipe. The main ingredient is Mopane worms, a delicacy amongst the some of the African tribes.


2 kilograms dried mopane worms
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion
1 tomato, peeled and cut in small pieces
1 tablespoon peri-peri sauce

Soak the dried mopaneworms in warm salt water till swollen. Drain.

Now boil the worms in a little fresh water and drain again. Now fry the worms in some oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, tomato and peri-peri sauce and simmer till the tomato is cooked. The dish is especially tasty if served with hot mealie porridge.

Ujeqe lwe mpama (Steamed Dumplings)

125ml (1/2 cup) mealie meal
500ml (2 cups) flour
125ml (1/2 cup) sugar
pinch salt
10ml (2t) baking powder
450ml cold water

Steam mealie meal in a little water and stir with a fork till it forms crumbs.
Mix all ingredients together to form a firm but pliable dough.
Use a 3 legged cast iron pot placed in a hole on a coal stove, or a thick bottomed aluminium pot with water to cover only the bottom of the pot. Put a plate upside down on the bottom of the pot, or criss-cross the bottom with strips of wood. 
Bring the water to boil. Take enough dough to fill your hand and paste it against the side of the pot until all the dough is used. 
Cook for about 30 minutes. Serve with milk or meat, even with tea. 

- the plate or strips of wood will prevent the dough from falling into the water if it slips off the side. The dough will fall off if the pot is greasy.-

Stewed Cane Rat

Skin and eviscerate the rat and split it lengthwise.
Fry until brown in a mixture of butter and peanut oil.
Cover with water, add tomatoes or tomato puree, chillies and salt 
to taste.
Simmer the rat until tender.
Serve with rice.

Fish Parcels

Banana leaves
4 x 180g fillet of fish
2 measures of dry sherry
1 small chilli, finely chopped
 small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
8 thin slivers of ginger
4 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 3 limes
Salt and pepper to season

marinade fresh fillets with the above ingredients. Wrap each fillet individually in a banana leaf and secure with a skewer. bake parcels over hot coals, turning once.

Sour Porridge (Imbila)

500 ml mealie meal 
250 ml sorghum 
1 l water 

Soak mielie meal and sorghum in water overnight. Cook as porridge, cool and allow to rest for four hours, so that the fermentation process can take place. Add sugar to taste before drinking.

Maize with mixed vegetables (Umfino)

1 medium cabbage, shredded 
1 bunch spinach, shredded 
1 bunch turnips, peeled and diced 
1 bunch spring onions, chopped 
250 ml mealie rice 
375 ml mealie meal 
500 ml water 
125 g margarine 
salt and pepper to taste 

Wash and rinse vegetables. In a large saucepan bring water to the boil, add all vegetables, toss with a fork to mix and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Add mealie rice, mix through and then stir in mealie meal. Use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients to a pulp. Cook over low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ntomo Krakro (Sweet Potato Fritters)

This should be great as a potjie side dish!

4 sweet potatoes
2 large eggs
1 tablesp. flour
2 tablesp. butter or fat
1/4 teasp. salt
Water (or milk if preferred)
Bread crumbs for coating
Oil for frying
Peel, boil, and mash sweet potatoes.
Beat eggs and add rest of ingredients.
Add enough liquid to mix into a fairly soft dough.
Make into flat cakes. Coat with beaten eggs and breadcrumbs.
Fry in hot fat until golden brown.
Drain well and serve hot with meat or fish stew.

Recipes by kind permission of The Congo Cookbook

Isidudu (pumpkin pap) with curried cabbage and liver

750 ml cooked pumpkin
1 litre water
625 ml maize meal
60 ml sugar
5 ml salt

Curried cabbage and liver:
45 ml oil
500 g lamb's liver
1 large onion, chopped
750 ml cabbage, finely chopped
3 potatoes, peeled, diced and boiled
3 garlic cloves, crushed
15 ml curry powder
15 ml ground paprika
salt to taste

To make isidudu (pumpkin pap): boil water, then add sugar, salt and pumpkin, stirring to mix.
Add maize meal and mix well. Leave to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Heat oil and gently fry liver until well cooked. Remove and keep warm.
Add onion, cabbage, potatoes, garlic, curry, paprika and salt and sauté until soft.
To serve, spoon curried cabbage over isidudu and top with liver.
Isidudu can also be enjoyed with warm milk, inkomazi or by adding margarine or butter and a little sugar.

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