Putu pap, or ‘pap’ is an old-time South African favourite dish and a welcome staple at almost every South African braai. It is also enjoyed as an alternative to rice or potatoes with many meals. Putu pap consists of a porridge made from maize (corn) meal and its name ‘krummelpap’ in Afrikaans directly translates to ‘crumbly porridge’. This is a direct reference to the dry crumbly texture of the porridge mixture, which is usually only made with a little water in order to keep it quite dry. It can also be cooked to create a stiff porridge known as ‘stywepap’ (stiff pap).
Many people in South Africa enjoy putu pap as a breakfast staple, adding sugar and milk to the mixture to make a more fluid porridge mix. With other meals, putu pap is usually combined with a tomato-and-onion sauce or chakalaka sauce and enjoyed as a side dish with boerewors at a braai.
Make your own putu pap
- 2 ½ cups (600ml) boiling water
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) salt
- 2 ½ cups (400g) maize meal
- A generous dab of butter
- Pour the boiling water and salt into a saucepan with a thick base and bring to the boil again with the lid on.
- Once boiling, add the maize meal to the water.
- Close the lid and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Then stir well with a spoon or kitchen fork.
- Replace the lid and steam at a low heat for half an hour, until done. Watch your putu pap carefully to ensure it does not burn at the base.
- While steaming, fluff with a fork a few times to check on the texture.
- When your putu pap is ready to serve, add a generous knob of butter and fluff for the last time.
For variety, you can add frozen corn to the pap before steaming it or a mixture of pre-cooked beans. Enjoy!
If you are a South African expat living abroad and feeling a little homesick, rustle up a dish of putu pap and enjoy this traditional South African food, filled with flavours and memories of home!