In Xhosa, it is called Intlaphoyi or Isonka Somgub’ombona (maize meal bread). Ujeqe, as it is known in Zulu, is traditional bread made by soaking the maize meal in boiling water for a few minutes then mix it with other ingredients such as flour, yeast, sugar, salt etc.
The dough would then be wrapped with maize leaves and steamed. The Zulu people make use of the grass from the fields (utyani) and place it at the bottom of the pot, add some water then place ujeqe dough on top of the grass. In some Xhosa cultures maize stalks are used and placed at the bottom of a pot with water and when water starts boiling, dough is put on the maize stalks. The bread would be steamed until cooked then served with meat and or vegetables or with soup or relish.
Back in the day, maize was ground until fine and then Ujeqe or intlaphoyi was made with that finely ground maize. Grinding was basically a job done by women from young to the old. Some of us were lucky enough to grow up in an environment that enabled us to witness women grinding the maize.
Nowadays, maize meal is bought from shops and is used to make the bread. Allow me to present to you what I prepared: uJeqe served with tomato relish (tamatie smoor) with sausage. Where I come from we call tomato relish~ bisto. Ask anyone coming from the Eastern Cape. I have no idea why it is called a Bisto but we grew up referring to it that way. The name bisto comes back from our grandparents’ generation. The smoor is mostly served with Umqa (stiff porridge). Happy Cooking!
Ujeqe (Maize Meal Bread) Recipe
250ml (1cup) maize meal
250ml (1cup) boiling water
375ml (1½ cup) bread flour
10ml (2tsp) instant dry yeast
10ml (2tsp) white sugar
5ml (1tsp) salt
10ml (2tsp) butter
15ml (1tbsp) lukewarm water (optional)
3-4 sprigs parsley, chopped
- Mix maize meal with water and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Sift flour into a bowl.
- Mix ingredients with sifted flour and then with the maize meal and water mix and knead until the dough is elastic. Add more water if necessary.
- Put dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place to rise.
- When the dough has risen put the bowl in a saucepan with boiling water and steam for 45 minutes to an hour.
Tomato and Onion Smoor
1 onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 chilli, chopped
pinch of sugar
15ml (1tbsp) chutney
pinch of salt
45ml (3tbsp) tomato paste
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions over a medium heat until translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, garlic, chilli and stir.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, lower the heat and let simmer for a few minutes.
- Serve with uJeqe.