Believe it or not, Umxhaxha has never tasted this good!
When Pasella asked me to prepare an Easter dish I first thought of dishes such as pickled fish, hot cross buns etc. However, they mentioned it had to be a side dish because other bloggers were already preparing the starter, main and a dessert. It occurred to me that in black African culture, we do have dishes that we consume at certain times of the year, but they are not categorised such as Easter, Christmas etc. If it’s in season and if the weather agrees then we consume it. Oh boy! I went into a panic mode for a couple of minutes.
I started making phone calls frantically to my sources of indigenous food knowledge around the country. My sources in Durban, Cape Town, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga all told me one thing; Easter is a time of celebration therefore we feast. Pumpkin, mealies and wild leaves are in season during this time of the year. Mam’uMbandezi from Queenstown saved the day and suggested I prepare umxhaxha, amaceba (also a pumpkin dish) or imifino.
Pasella liked the idea of a pumpkin and corn side dish and so I went with Umxhaxha. This is a pumpkin and mealies dish, it is usually prepared around Easter because pumpkin and mealies are in season. It is prepared with mealies, mealie rice or dried samp. The pumpkin used is not limited only to butternut, any form of pumpkin can be used to prepare the recipe. It is served as a side dish and it is more popular in the Eastern Cape.
So far I’ve prepared this dish about six times and each and every time my guests won’t stop saying how good it is. I guarantee your family and friends will ask you to prepare this dish again and again.
Before we get to the recipe I would like to thank Colleen for believing in me and making this possible. I’d like to thank all my recipe sources for not getting tired of me and answering my questions whenever I call. I thank Pasella for the opportunity. Last but not least I thank my fellow bloggers Marisa, Alida, Nina and the rest of the food blogging community for just being totally awesome!
PS: No worries if you missed the Pasella show, you can view the insert here
1 butternut, cut into 6 pieces (without removing the skin)
2-3 gem squashes, halved and cored
2 cobs (sweetcorn / mielies) / ±170 g
- Cook butternut in 200ml water until it is soft.
- Remove the butternut from the saucepan and let it cool down before scooping out the inside.
- Repeat step 1 & 2 using gem squash.
- In a saucepan melt margarine and sugar, add the cooked butternut and gem squash.
- Add the sweetcorn and continue to stir, let cook long enough to caramelise the sugar, for ±2 minutes.
- Add cream and mix well.
- Spoon into the gem squash shells.
- Serve warm.
- You can leave the saucepan in step 4 and just mix everything into a bowl and mix it together. I just like the idea of caramelising the sugar first to contribute to the flavour.
- If traditional pumpkin dishes are your thing, you will enjoy this Isijingi dish 👇