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Having a genuine interest in different parts of the world can provide people with unique insights into cultural differences and a deep appreciation for ways of life other than their own. Food is one aspect of culture that leaves a lasting impression in the hearts of many, all around the world. No matter how far away from home you are, longing for your favorite cultural dish is one that most people share. But even more special is our desire as humans to explore dishes from other cultures.
In this article, we will delve into the history and significance of one of South Africa’s staple dishes called ‘pap en vleis.’ You will learn the ingredients and recipe to make this South African classic, So you too can enjoy a mouth-watering cultural treat in the comfort of your own home anywhere in the world.
This delicacy is a traditional South African dish that has been enjoyed for generations. This hearty meal is made up of a smooth, creamy maize porridge ‘Pap.’ with juicy grilled meat ‘Vleis.’ This dish is a crowd favorite, especially at gatherings and events, and is usually served at ‘shisha nyama’ or at barbecue events.
Throughout South Africa’s history from the time of the native ‘Khoi and San’ people through to the ‘Great Trek’ and ‘Anglo/Boer wars,’ Pap en vleis was a staple and customary dish. This was in part because settlers were constantly on the move, and so they carried with them imperishables, and pap was one of those foods. The ‘vleis’ (meat) on the other hand were sourced from cattle. The meat was cured, dried, and cut into thin slices, to make it imperishable, and durable enough to be enjoyed while they are on the move.
Here’s a recipe for you to enjoy!
Pap En Vleis
- 750 ml water
- A pinch of salt
- 350g maize meal
- 2 T butter
- 5 T soya sauce
- 5 T teriyaki sauce
- 200 g thin beef strips
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 x 10 cm piece ginger peeled and grated
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 125 ml sweet chili sauce
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the water and salt to a rapid boil. Add half the maize meal, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 8 minutes. Stir the mixture and add the remaining maize meal, a little at a time
- Stir and beat it against the sides of the saucepan with the back of the wooden spoon. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat further, cover, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the butter and mix. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
- Press two spoonfuls of pap into each cup of a greased muffin tray to create a basket or cup-like shape. Set aside.
- Marinate the beef strips in half the soy and teriyaki sauces for 10 minutes.
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger for a minute. Add the marinated beef strips, season with pepper, and stir-fry for 3 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
- Add the remaining soya and teriyaki sauces, sweet chili sauce, and spring onion, and cook for 2 minutes. Fill the pap baskets and serve immediately.