It’s a bit chilly in Jozi and since today is International Soup Day I thought I would share my favourite soup with you…..
Isophu yombona is a traditional soup for the Xhosa culture in the Eastern Cape. It is made from dried mealie kernels and sugar beans by just simmering these ingredients until soft then add seasoning such as salt.
This soup takes me back to the good old days when it was cooked in cast iron pots on a fire situated in the centre of a thatched roof rondavel with windows the size of a fist hehe! Ok maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit here….windows were the size of a rugby ball….This way of cooking way warmed up the room during the cold winter days and everyone would gather around the fire while the soup was cooking.
The soup takes a long time to cook and is slow cooked. This long cooking procedure usually presented an opportunity for story telling. The grandmother would narrate the stories. In those days most households did not have television sets, this encouraged the children to use their imagination. Most often the stories would have a wolf and a jackal. In all these stories the jackal was portrayed as wise and the wolf as stupid. Those were good days as we never knew how a wolf looked like, however you imagined a fool. Hehehe! Good days indeed!
Fast tracking to the future and recreating the same kind of scenario the soup would be simmering in the kitchen with the aroma inviting an imagination of a tasty and steaming bowl of soup….ready to be savoured…….Mmmmmmm!
What is your favourite soup and what does it remind you of?
250ml dry meal kernels
250ml sugar beans
3litres boiling water
3 spring onions, chopped
200ml -250ml bacon, diced
1 stock cube
2ml black pepper
5ml olive oil
1-2 garlic, chopped
Pap is a stiff porridge prepared with maize meal and is the most dominant staple in most of Southern Africa. Some may refer to it as another version of mealie pap. There’s a isidudu , a soft porridge with a somewhat pourable consistency thenwe have umphokoqo /krummel pap/ phuthu with a coarse consistency.
Each and every culture has their way of preparing pap. Texture and stiffness may vary depending on cultural preference as well as the relish to be used. Generally the pap is eaten by squeezing it in your hand, rolling and dunking it into a relish. All this is done by hands spoons are not necessarily used.
The cooked pap is usually served with stews, potjiekos, wors, mashonza, lamb chops etc. Chances are you’ll find the pap in most Shisa Nyama’s around the country more especially in Jozi and surrounding areas. A braai is not complete without pap!
One thing for sure is that you have to make sure you have firm wrists and you have the energy to stir, vigorously I mean. I used to watch my friend making it and there is a lot of stirring that goes into the preparation. The good new is that the preparation does not take much of your time. Let me give you some of the reasons why pap is the biggest staple:
Sometime last year I cooked for a group of friends, I made some salads, a lasagne and I was quite sure that the food was going to blow them away. Dinner was served and a friend’s husband politely asked “where is the pap?” You should have seen the reaction on my face…I was completely baffled…I mean I prepared my scrumptious mince lasagne and some salads, why would someone then ask for pap? The truth is our African brothers love their pap and a meal is not complete without it…so ladies take note.
A good friend, Ishmael, originally from Zimbabwe but currently residing in Cape Town showed me how to prepare the pap. He insisted I should mention that his mom taught him how to cook the pap. Where would we be without mothers?
Ishmael’s Pap Recipe
1L boiling water
75ml cold water
125ml (½ cup) maize meal
350ml maize meal