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Stywe Pap – Mielie Meal
Mielie-meal ‘pap’, mieliepap, (putu pap) has formed the basis of southern African cooking and eating for centuries. Mielie-meal (from the Portuguese word “milho”) porridge is eaten all over Africa. It’s a staple in the truest sense of the word and every African cuisine that favors maize meal over cassava, has its own version – all remarkably similar types of porridge or *mush-like* mieliepap (similar to polenta).
There are South African shops in most cities around the world; for a price they provide homesick Africans with a taste of the familiar. Order online, from shops like Kalahari Moon, The Bok and Rose, The Safa Shop,Susmans or Taste of South Africa. You will be wanting Iwisa or Impala mielie meal and unless you’re cooking for the whole soccer club, a one kilogram bag should be plenty. Otherwise, white polenta or white cornmeal will work if there are no other options available. Yellow maize corn meal will also work at a pinch.
Woman and Mielie Pap
Many traditional South African dishes include pap, such as the smooth maize meal porridge called slap pap, then this very thick consistency pap that can be held in the hand (stywe pap as above) and the drier, crumbly putu (pronounced as in Desmond Tutu) pap, about the size of soya beans. It is the women who traditionally make or cook with mielie meal, as opposed to the men who help stir the pots and pound the beef at big celebrations. Woman also make the traditional African maize beer, both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. The men are not taught or expected to make the maize beer, which is culturally the women’s job. As a staple food, mieliepap (maize meal), is also known as putu (South Africa), sadza (Zimbabwe), phaletshe (Botswana), nsima (Zambia and Malawi) and ugali in (Kenya).