Ting ya mabele

Ting ya mabele

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  • 4
  • Easy
  • 45 minutes, plus 3 days’ fermenting time
  • 30 minutes


  • 200 g mabele a ting (coarse-ground sorghum)
  • 1½ cups lukewarm water
  • 3 cups cold water
  • salt, to taste
  • 85 g maize meal

Cooking Instructions

1. Mix the sorghum with the lukewarm water and place in a plastic container. Cover the container with clingwrap or a lid and place it in a really warm place to ferment for about 3 days. (Note, it does get pretty pungent!)

2. Bring the remaining water to the boil in a large saucepan and add 2 pinches of salt.

3. Mix the maize meal with the fermented sorghum using a fork, stirring well to remove any lumps. I prefer doing it this way as this makes fewer lumps in the final product.

4. Gradually add the mixture to the water, stirring continuously. Keep stirring for a few minutes until it begins to thicken slightly. 5 Cover and simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes. Stir vigorously occasionally using a large wooden spoon. If your ting is too thick, add boiling water.

Cook’s note: The longer you cook the porridge, the thicker it will become. For a stiffer porridge, use less water. The longer you ferment the sorghum, the more sour your ting will be. You can also keep the living cultures alive by adding more water and dried sorghum to it every three days.

Find more South African recipes here.

Photograph: Jan Ras
Production: Bianca Strydom
Food assistant: Irinja Bekker



Lesego Semenya Recipe by: Lesego Semenya
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The late, great Lesego Semenya aka Les da Chef was famous for his braai skills, devotion to heritage recipes and ingredients, and as a television host. He was the author of "Dijo: My food, my journey", a regular columnist for the TASTE magazine and host of TASTETube videos.

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