Mageu, mahewu, amarhewu (Zulu spelling) or amahewu (Xhosa spelling) is a traditional South African non-alcoholic, fermented brew made from fermented mealiepap. Home production is still widely practised, but the drink is also available at many supermarkets, being produced at factories.
Its taste is derived predominantly from the lactic acid that is produced during fermentation. Commercial mageu is available in several flavours; banana, cream, plain, guava, pineapple and extra strong, much in the way commercially available yoghurt is. Similar beverages are also made in other parts of Africa.
Nutritionally, it is similar to its parent mealiemeal, but with the glucose changed to lactate during fermentation. Commercial preparations are often enriched (In South Africa, the term fortification is only allowed legally for specific, government-sanctioned nutrition programs, e.g. that of bread) with vitamins and minerals. Although typically considered non-alcoholic, very small amounts (less than 1%) of Ethanol have been reported as a contaminant. Legally, to be termed Mageu in South Africa an alcohol content of less than 1% is required.
Category: South African Cuisine