Main Meals

Mielie-meal porridge with maple-butter sauce

20 minutes
40 minutes

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  • 1 litre water
  • 120 g white maize meal
  • ½ t sea salt
  • 1 cup milk, warmed (plus extra if necessary)
  • brown sugar, to taste
  • For the maple-butter sauce:
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 120 g cold unsalted butter, cubed

Boil the water in a kettle or on the braai. Suspend a potjie over the fire or place on a heavy-duty grilling tray. Add the water and maize meal to the potjie. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring continually with a wooden spoon so no lumps form, for about 10 minutes. It will make little “plop” sounds as it thickens and cooks. The porridge should be smooth.

Adjust the heat by moving the potjie away from the flame or waiting for the flames to subside. Cover the potjie with a lid and simmer the porridge for 40 minutes. You’ll need to lift the lid and stir a number of times to ensure it doesn’t catch or burn at the bottom.

While the porridge is cooking, place the maple syrup in a small saucepan over a medium heat. It will immediately start to bubble. Be careful not to let it burn. Once it starts to bubble a little, remove from the heat. Add the butter and stir slowly with a spatula until it melts. Set aside.

The porridge should be very smooth and thick, but not stiff (expect a “gloopy” consistency). Stir in the milk. The consistency will depend on your preference. Serve hot with a sprinkle of sugar and a drizzle of maple-butter

Cook's note: This is a childhood classic, tweaked slightly with a luscious maple butter sauce to drizzle over. The porridge can also be served savoury, like congee, with chopped spring onions and sliced boiled eggs.

You can prepare the maple-butter sauce in advance – it becomes lighter in colour and the butter fat will rise to the top. Store in the fridge. Remove a few hours before serving and stir well before using.

You can also use a heavy-based, cast-iron pot. Take care not to burn the bottom of the pot – suspend it over the fire or place on a heavy-duty grilling tray.

Browse more South African recipes here.

Ishay Govender

Recipe by: Ishay Govender

Ishay Govender is award-winning freelance food and travel journalist and author. She has written two cookbooks titled Curry: Stories & Recipes Across South Africa and Bright Rock Love Change Cookbook.

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