Main Meals

African grain salad

1 hour
30–45 minutes

“This dish represents a return to the past. Before opening Emazulwini, I never ate sorghum and millet. During lockdown I did some research on grains that are indigenous to Africa and South Africa. This salad is a celebration of African grains and incorporating them into my diet. Millet and sorghum vary in their cooking times, so it’s best to cook them separately.” – Mmabatho Molefe

Wine/Spirit Pairing
Paul Cluver Riesling

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  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 120 g millet
  • salt a pinch
  • 120 g red sorghum
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, finely zested
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • For the coriander dressing:
  • 50 fresh coriander
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 thumb ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1⁄2 t ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 t garam masala
  • 1⁄2 t chaat masala
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 3 T water
  • 3 T oil
  • 1 T sugar or honey
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. To make the millet, place the boiling water, salt and millet in a saucepan and cook for 10 minutes, or until the water becomes starchy.

2 Once the water is starchy and the millet is sticking together, rinse under cold water and gently steam with 1⁄2– 3⁄4 cups water for a further 8–10 minutes, or until the millet is cooked. Make sure that you constantly agitate the millet with a fork so that it doesn’t stick together.

3. To make the sorghum, place the remaining boiling water, salt and the sorghum in a saucepan and cook for 15 minutes, or until the water turns a dark brown colour.

4. Rinse under cold water and fill the saucepan with enough cold water to cover the sorghum. Cook for a further 15 minutes, or until the sorghum is soft but still has a bite.

5. Gently cook the onion and celery in the oil until the onions have softened. Place the grains, onion, celery, lemon zest and spinach in a bowl. Season and add the dressing.

6. To make the dressing, blend all the ingredients until a smooth paste forms. If you prefer a runnier consistency, adjust the water and oil and add lemon juice to taste.

Find more South African recipes here. 

Photograph: Jan Ras
Production: Khanya Mzongwana

Mmabatho Molefe

Recipe by: Mmabatho Molefe

Mmabatho is the head chef and owner of Emazulwini restaurant in Cape Town. She is the winner of the 2022 Eat Out Naked Malt Rising Star Award.

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