Putu, the staple diet for Xhosa and Zulu people

As Zulu people call it Putu, Xhosa people Umphokoqo, the Afrikaans name for Putu is Pap (derived from the Dutch word “Pap”). There is a distinction between slap (porridge), stijwe (dumpling) and krummel (crumble) Pap, but all made from the same maize ๐ŸŒพ meal.

We are lucky that we found maize meal at the Carrefour in Spain as my South African wife, born and bred in Kwazulu-Natal missed this the most. She now eats it even with minestrone ๐Ÿ˜‚ and vegetable soup

Utensils ๐ŸดCast iron pan with lid, fork (Zulu people use a stick)

Ingredients for Putu for 2 people 350 ml water, 250 g white maize ๏ฟผ meal, 1 t salt


1 Boil water and add salt. Switch heat off.

2 Add the maize meal into the water very quickly, creating a pyramid

3 Stir it with a fork creating lumps

4 Put lid on and turn heat onto low

5 Stir every 5 minutes to break up the lumps and to loosen the bottom. It is okay if the bottom gets caught, but only a little.

6 After 20 minutes it is ready to serve.

TIP: Monitor it every now and then. It is normal that the bottom gets caught but only a little.

Delicious with Black Label beer ๐Ÿบ

MUSIC ๐ŸŽถ This Zulu lullaby is sung to every South African baby. Tula Baba by Miriam Makeba.

Romance of this recipe: Somlandela is the gospel song which the Zulu maids taught Lee to sing at the age of 7-8. She still knows the words 45 years later.

3 thoughts on “Putu, the staple diet for Xhosa and Zulu people

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