Recipe: Cooking with Fresh Mielies

By fresh mielies I mean the real deal, not sweet corn……..

Where does one buy fresh mielies these days?  From the street vendors or at the fresh fruit and vegetable markets?

Being from the Eastern Cape, there is never a shortage of fresh mielies there.  Almost every other street vendor is selling them.  Boiled, braaied or fresh.  In Joburg, it’s easy to find them from the side of the road.   Here in Cape Town it is such a hassle to find fresh mielies.  Don’t be surprised to be pointed to sweet corn when you are looking for fresh mielies.  I personally do not understand this, why aren’t fresh mielies available at your major retail stores?  When I was in Queenstown I bought fresh mielies and brought them to Cape Town with me.  That alone makes me wonder, why do I have to travel 900 km to get these white mielies?

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There’s so many ways one can enjoy them; the ladies in the townships sell them boiled and braaied.  I was in Khayelitsha yesterday and some street vendors were selling braaied mielies, the yellow ones.  Boiled mielies are good with just Aromat and some people also add a bit of butter.  One can also grill the mielies or use them to prepare soups and dishes such as Umxhaxha.  Mealies also make for a good salad ingredient  one can also make a Yummy Mealie Bread.  Last week I prepared a Corn Frittata for my column in the Cape Times using one of these white mielies.

Back in the day, women in the rural areas used to remove the corn from the cob then  crush them with a pestle and mortar.  I decided togrind them using a food processor.  The resulting ground maize was coarser than the maize meal that we know and it was also a bit wet.  I decided on fritters because having the wet ground mielies means I don’t have to use wet ingredients (e.g. eggs, milk) in my recipe.   The pickled piquante peppers used in the recipe give it a beautiful orangey colour.  Serving the fritters with Chutney just compliments the dish.   These fritters can be served as a snack, as part of a finger lunch or a starter.  Hope you find some mielies (again, not sweet corn) and get to try out the recipe!  Please let me know how it goes!


Crushed Mielies, Piquante Peppers and Mozzarella Fritters


Serves: 4


375ml (1½cup) ground mealies

½ onion, finely chopped

Few sprigs of thyme, chopped

a handful of piquant peppers, chopped

3 tablespoons grated mozzarella cheese

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste



  1. In a bowl, combine ground mealies, onion, thyme, peppers and cheese.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil olive or canola oil in a saucepan.  The oil should not be too hot as the fritters will become dark too soon.  The aim is to let the fritters cook slowly.
  4. Take spoonfulls of the mixture and flatten it in-between your hands.
  5. Cook slowly over medium heat until the fritters look crisp and are cooked through.
  6. Allow to drain on a paper towel.
  7. Serve wit Chutney.


Author Info


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

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