I’ve rarely cooked with the real morogo (indigenous plants)…..
One of the few times I got to cook with them my aunt and I were preparing Isgwampa, which is a Xhosa maize meal with indigenous leaves also known as Imifino.
You often hear people say if you want to explore a city or a country’s cuisine you better hit the streets. I did just that on the streets of Jozi. This time around I was looking for morogo leaves.
One street vendor, took me through her morogo leaves on display. She also sold pumpkin and its flowers which are popular items in Venda cooking. She explained how to prepare the dish using such items and also gave me a packet of ground peanuts to add to the dish. As I was busy taking photos of the food items she insisted on having her photo taken as well. I obliged.
Street Vendor and her Friend
I bought morogo together with the pumpkin and flowers, took them back to Cape Town with me. To avoid spoilage I kept them in the fridge overnight. The next day, it was cooking time! The plan was not to fiddle with the cooking instructions the vendor gave me. I followed them to the tee. The morogo was ready however I did not feel like serving it with pap. I thought of a pie which led me to go buy puff pastry.
One thing I can honestly tell you ” Imifino” or rather “Morogo” prepared using spinach tastes completely different to the real thing. It’s a whole new experience that takes you back to when your grandma was still alive! (In my case) I kid you not! If you’ve been lucky enough to have a grandma or an aunt that cooked Imifino or morogo then that’s exactly how you’ll feel. The pie was done, had one slice. Dished up for a friend after a while we were like “I want to go for seconds dude that was awesome”.
Morogo Pie Recipe
Makes 1 medium sized pie
250ml (1 cup) boiling water
1 packet morogo (as sold by the street vendors), shredded
A handful pumpkin flowers, shredded
1 pumpkin (preferably small), washed and chopped
375ml (1½ cup) ground peanuts
salt to taste
- In a saucepan, add boiling water morogo, pumpkin flowers and pumpkin.
- Cover the lid and let simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- Add peanuts and continue simmering until cooked.
- For Pie: Follow instructions on the pack. Spoon morogo on the rolled out pastry and bake.