- 250 g mokhuse
- 2–3 cups boiling water
- ¼ cup canola or sunflower oil
- 1 arge onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 t ground paprika
- 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- mealie meal porridge, for serving
1. Place the mokhuse in a large pot. Add 2 cups (500 ml) hot water and cook over medium heat for 40 minutes. If the mokhuse still isn’t tender after this time, add more hot water and continue cooking for a further 10–20 minutes. Drain the mokhuse and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in the same pot. Add the onion, garlic, chilli and paprika and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes, until the onion starts to soften.
3. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring until you have a thick sauce. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. (Add a splash of water if it starts to catch.)
4. Return the drained mokhuse to the pot and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until warmed through. For a meat-free meal, serve mokhuse with mealie meal porridge.
Cook's note: If you can’t get mokhuse, use Swiss chard (spinach) instead. Mealie meal (maize meal) porridge is an African staple that goes by many names: phutu, isitshwala and mieliepap; boswa in Sepedi, my husband’s language; sadza in Zimbabwe, and ugali in Kenya.
Mokhuse, the dried leaves of morogo (African or wild spinach, also known as cowpea), come from a group of edible leaves that includes amaranth, green bean and pumpkin leaves. My local veggie market always has fresh leaves, like morogo wa lephutsi (pumpkin) or morogo wa dinawa (beans), as well as leaves that have been dried (mokhuse). Dried leaves are common in rural areas, where they are grown at home, harvested in season and then dried so they will be available for the rest of the year. My Zimbabwean friend, Charmaine, who stayed with us for six months, taught me how to cook mokhuse this way. I’d learned to do it the Limpopo way,
but I love her version, and now it’s the one I do all the time. It reminds me of our time together.
This recipe is an extract from Dinner at Matloha's, published by Penguin Random House (Pty) Ltd and available at all good book stores.