Mealies (corn; maize) have long been the basis of African cuisine. Each community, whether Xhosa or Zulu, Sotho, Tswana or Swazi, holds to slight differences in making it and preferences in eating it, but certain dishes have the approval of nearly all. Here are some of them.
Fresh, “green” mealies, roasted and eaten on the cob, sold by hawkers almost everywhere, usually women, who set up their braziers on the pavement
Dried and broken maize kernels, or samp.
Dried maize kernels ground fine into mealiemeal, used for everything from sour-milk porridge to mealiepap, krummelpap or stywepap. It is mixed with crushed mealie malt (corn malt), crushed sorghum malt and warm water for umqombothi, or with flour and water for mageu, a refreshing, slightly fermented drink.
Fresh green mealies can be boiled and served on the cob or as a separate vegetable dish. They can also be minced and made into mealie bread (corn bread).
Choose mealies with green, fresh husks and silky ends free of decay or worm injury. Cobs should be well filled with plump, milky kernels. Allow 1–2 cobs per serving. Two cobs should yield 250 ml fresh kernels. The smaller, yellow mealies, which are sweeter and more tender, are known as sweetcorn. Keep unwashed mealies in the husk until ready to use. Store in the refrigerator and use as soon as possible.
- How to cook whole Mealies or Sweetcorn
- Remove husks just before cooking. Retain a few of the thin, light-green leaves surrounding the kernels as they improve the flavour. Cover mealies with unsalted boiling water, cover the saucepan with a lid and boil for 15–20 minutes. Add salt to the water just before serving to ensure a more tender and succulent mealie. Serve with butter or with a mixture of 50 ml melted butter and 5 ml soy sauce.
- Grill over coals
- Retain the thin, tender leaves around the kernels. Parboil in boiling unsalted water for 10 minutes. Remove from the water and dry well. Place on a braai grid with the meat and grill very slowly over hot coals for 30 minutes. Remove outer leaves, season with salt and serve with butter.
- Mealies grilled with Bacon
- Remove husks and silk just before cooking. A soft brush can be used to remove the silk. Parboil mealies in boiling, unsalted water for 10 minutes. Drain and wrap 2–3 rashers of bacon (rinds removed) around mealies. Secure bacon rashers with toothpicks. Grill slowly over hot coals or under the grill element of the oven, turning frequently until the mealies are done and the bacon is crisp.
Category: South African Cuisine
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