African food


Some call it ‘umkhupha’, others call it ‘is’jabane’ – but everyone agrees, it’s pap on steroids. A BLOG LIKE NO OTHER shows you how to make UMKHUPHA, a variant of pap made with beans and mealie meal.



Sqo celebration. – image – Ntokozo Sindane

Sqo celebration. – image – Ntokozo Sindane

The blog turns 1 year today and what better way to celebrate than with…you guessed it; UMQOMBOTHI! So far, the blog has been a gloriously chaotic ride during which we explored topics that are relevant to Africans and people who are curious about Africa. Umqombothi is a traditional African beer for all occasions and today, as we celebrate A Blog Like No Other’s first birthday, I will share my aunt’s recipe for Umqombothi.

You need these utensils:

25 lt bucket

2 Imiphongolo (Large containers for liquids, 40 lt or so. You can use buckets if you don’t have large containers.)

The largest pot you have in your house

Ivovo (sieve)

Ukhamba (calabash) to serve the beer

Have these on stand-by to serve umqombothi. – image -

Have these on stand-by to serve umqombothi. – image –

You need these ingredients:

5 kg mealie meal

2 kg umthombo wombila (maize malt)

4 kg umthombo wamabele (wheat malt)

Cold water

Boiling water

It takes 4 days to make umqombothi using this recipe but don’t worry, your life won’t come to a standstill. Let’s get started.

Day 1

  1. Mix 5 kg mealie meal, 2 kg maize malt and 1 kg wheat malt in the 25 lt bucket.
  2. Add cold water to reach ¾ level of the bucket and add 1 kettle of boiling water.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together and place lid on the bucket.
  4. Leave the mixture to ferment overnight on a mat in a warm room.
Often where there is umqombothi, there is a pot of meat nearby. – image – Ntokozo Sindane

Often where there is umqombothi, there is a pot of meat nearby. – image – Ntokozo Sindane

Day 2

  1. The mixture should be slightly foamy at the top due to fermentation.
  2. Stir the mixture to mix the ingredients resting at the bottom of the bucket.
  3. Fill the large pot with some water and heat it to boiling point.
  4. Slowly add the fermented mixture to the boiling water until it forms the same texture as that of porridge.
  5. Repeat step 5  until all the fermented contents of the bucket are cooked.
  6. Leave the cooked porridge in the large container  and allow to cool for the rest of the day and overnight.

Day 3

  1. Add the remaining 3 kg wheat malt to the cold porridge mixture and stir the ingredients together.
  2. Leave the cold porridge and wheat malt mix in the large container to ferment overnight on a mat in a warm room.
Ivovo, the stuff Day 4 is made of. – image -

Ivovo, the stuff Day 4 is made of. – image –

Day 4

  1. On the morning of day 4, the mixture should have a thick, rich foamy layer on top.
  2. Stir the ingredients and brace yourself for one last bout of hard labour.
  3. Ivovo is a woven sieve and it is ideal for brewing umqombothi. Fill it with the mixture and twist to strain the liquid into the second large container.
  4. Empty the sieve of the grains and repeat step 3 until all the mixture is strained.
  5. Leave to ferment for the rest of the day. The beer will be ready to serve in the evening at the earliest but is best served the following morning.
Late on Day 4. – image – Ntokozo Sindane

Late on Day 4. – image – Ntokozo Sindane


  • Cooking the porridge mix for umqombothi on an electric stove will skyrocket your electricity bill. It is cheaper to use a wooden fire to cook.
  • If you cook the mixture on an open flame, coat the exterior of the pot with mud or a soapy paste to make it easy to clean when you are finished using it.
  • Place the bucket or container on a mat to prevent contact with the cold floor which slows down      fermentation. Also, the mat will keep the floor clean.
  • Ask someone to help you handle the large pot of hot porridge on Day 2 to avoid burn accidents.
  • Invite friends to help you on Day 4. Straining umqombothi is a lot of work but it’s a good way to hang out with the girls and catch up on gossip.
  • My aunt thinks this is an insult to people who have perfected the craft of making umqombothi but I will share this tip with you anyway. If you are not sure that things are going as they should be on the morning of Day 4, add 1 lt of Juba or Joburg Beer to the cold porridge and wheat malt mix. Juba and Joburg Beer are the commercial versions of umqombothi. This will get your brewing process back on track.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you make umqombothi.

Thank you for visiting and following the blog this past year, making it truly A Blog Like No Other! 🙂


Thank you all for visiting and following A BLOG LIKE NO OTHER, and this post in particular. In this video insert, the blog actually shows you how to brew UMQOMBOTHI. Thank you again for following the blog.



Okra’, or ‘lady fingers’ as it is otherwise known, is common in Nigeria but it is also incorporated in a lot of dishes from West and Southern Africa. The green, pepper-like vegetable looks nothing out of the ordinary, until it is prepared. When chopped and cooked, the vegetable is slimy, as if someone has literally added several spoonfuls of slime into your food. Cooking it whole and with the seeds intact reduces the sliminess.

‘Okra’. – image -

‘Okra’. – image –

South Africa’s diversity is evident in the country’s cuisine. You haven’t lived if you haven’t tasted bone and vegetable soup. ‘Inhloko’, lightly salted and boiled ox or sheep head, usually served with ‘phutu’, a dry staple made from ground maize is another popular dish, and the recipe is on the blog piece entitled ‘Let’s Make Head and Feet’.

 ‘Inhloko namanqina’, head and feet. – image – Ntokozo Sindane

‘Inhloko namanqina’, head and feet. – image – Ntokozo Sindane

‘Amahewu’ is a fermented maize porridge, sweetened with sugar to make a thick, sweet and sour drink which many South Africans enjoy. Umqombothi is another favourite. This is a home-made traditional beer which, if made right, could rival any brandy in its ability to get you from sober to drunk in a matter of just a few drinks. Check out the recipe for ‘Umqombothi‘ right here on the blog.

‘Umqombothi’, traditional African beer. – image – Ntokozo Sindane

‘Umqombothi’, traditional African beer. – image – Ntokozo Sindane

The East has sushi; Africa has ‘tera sega’, an Ethiopian dish of raw meat, usually beef, served with chillies and butter. For outsiders, this is definitely an acquired taste. And so is blood, a life source believed to have great healing and strengthening properties across the continent.

‘Tera sega’. – image -

‘Tera sega’. – image –

In Kenya, the Masai strategically make a small incision in the jugular vein of a cow and collect blood. Mud is used to seal the wound once enough blood is drained. The cows seem unaffected by this blood loss. While the blood is still warm, milk is added. This drink provides nourishment to the sick and increased strength and stamina for Masai warriors. And it must be said that if any warriors need as much strength as they can get, it’s the Masai; they still get up close and personal with lions.

Kenyan Masai warriors drain blood from a cow. – image -

Kenyan Masai warriors drain blood from a cow. – image –

The popular saying that ‘you are what you eat’ is not so amusing when one thinks about strange cuisine. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from trying the giant bullfrog if you ever come across the curious dish in Namibia or the Mopani worms in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

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