A couple of months ago I saw a lady street vendor by the name of Linda in Milnerton, Cape Town. Linda is originally from Zimbabwe and most of the ingredients she sells are from her country.
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I asked Linda to take me through the indigenous leaves she was selling. She was selling Covo, Tsunga (Chinese Spinach) and Rape Leaves. She was kind enough to also explain how the leaves are prepared and the different types of dishes they are used in. I posted images of some of the leaves on my instagram, feel free to check them out.
I’ve said this before and I’ll never get tired of saying it. We need to demand our retailers to stock some of the indigenous ingredients sold on the streets. In the meantime, while were are working on creating awareness and building up the demand let us support our street vendors.
Rape leaves are said to be popular in Zimbabwe, it is added to an sautéed onion and tomato mixture (smoor) and sometimes it is cooked with meat. Linda explained it like this, towards the end of your cooking process, when the meat is soft you then add the leaves. She also mentioned that they are very tasty when cooked with tripe (mogodu).
Zimbabweans usually serve greens with Sadza (Zimbabwean Pap). I decided to prepare Umqa Tapile, a combination of a maize meal pap and mashed potatoes. I grew up eating Umqa Tapile, my aunt does so well. She would just add potatoes and sometimes cabbage and some beef stock cube. I don’t see it being featured anywhere but whenever I go home to my mom’s house my aunt prepares it. It’s lovely and the texture is not as dense as pap. Here’s the recipes…..Enjoy!
Umqa Tapile (Pap and Mashed Potatoes) Recipe
Serves: 4 -6
2½ cups boiling water
1 cup White Star Quick
1 small red pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 potatoes, cooked and mashed
2.5ml (½tsp) mixed herbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
- Add water to a saucepan, gradually add maize meal while stirring.
- Add the rest of the ingredients.
- Cook on high heat for 2 minutes.
- In another saucepan, melt butter and sauté red pepper and onion until translucent.
- Mix pap, sautéed onion & pepper and mashed potatoes.
- Add herbs and season with salt and pepper.
Rape Leaves and Beef Stew Recipe
500g stewing beef
enough water to cook the beef until soft
30ml (2Tbsp) cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 packet rape leaves, chopped
15ml (1Tbsp) oxtail soup powder
salt and pepper
- Bring the meat to boil until soft.
- In a separate pan, heat oil cook the meat.
- Add onions, tomato and rape leaves.
- Simmer and cook until leaves are soft.
- Make a paste with soup powder and water. Add to the meat.
- Season with salt and pepper.