Mealie meal pap or porridge is a breakfast dish of milled white maize enjoyed across demographics in South Africa. By Ishay Govender-Ypma (@IshayGovender). For Woolworths TASTE, September 2018, story: Things we Found in the Fire
Mealie meal pap eaten simply with sugar and milk or with golden syrup and butter when the household can afford it. This is a childhood classic, tweaked ever so slightly with a luscious maple butter sauce to drizzle over, taking nursery food to a slightly new level. This porridge can also be served savoury, like congee with chopped spring onions and sliced boiled eggs. Grits will give you a similar result but won’t be as silky. See South African Mealie Pap – for Extra Crispy.
1 liter water
1 cup white maize meal (TIP: You can find maize or mealie meal at South African stores, or you can substitute with grits, cornmeal or polenta.)
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup whole or low-fat milk, warm, plus extra if needed
brown sugar, to taste
For the Maple Butter Sauce
You can prepare this a day or a few days in advance – it becomes lighter in colour and the butterfat will rise to the top. Store in the refrigerator. Remove a few hours before serving, and stir well before you drizzle it over the porridge.
1 cup maple syrup (TIP: golden syrup is traditionally used to sweeten this porridge. You can substitute the maple syrup if you wish)
120 grams (4.2 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cubed
Boil the water in a kettle. Add the water and maize meal to a large cast iron or heavy-bottomed pot, and heat slowly bringing to the boil while stirring continuously 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.
Lower the heat and cover the pot with a lid and allow the porridge to simmer for 40 minutes. You’ll need to lift the lid and stir frequently to ensure it doesn’t catch or burn at the bottom.
While the porridge is cooking, add maple syrup to a small saucepan and heat on medium. 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 now, but not stiff (expect a “gloopy” consistency). Grits, if using, will retain a characteristic grainy feel, but should also be plump and smooth. Stir in the milk. The consistency will depend on your preference – some prefer a thicker porridge and others a runnier version.
Serve hot with sprinkle of sugar and a drizzle of maple butter syrup.