Mealiepap or just pap (pup) is a traditional staple food of South Africans. It is made out of white granular maize meal usually cooked to a crumbly dry porridge such as krummelpap, or a stiff porridge such as putu or stywepap which can be served with grilled boerewors and a tomato-based gravy or sauce. Mealiepap can also be served with milk and sugar for breakfast. A lump of butter added to the porridge will improve the taste and texture.
This dish is eaten like rice or noodles in other cultures.
Afrikaners in the northern parts of South Africa eat it as a breakfast staple, with milk and sugar (slappap), but also serve it (stywepap) with meat and tomato-stew (usually tomato and onion) at other meals. In the Cape Provinces, among the white population, it is almost exclusively seen as a breakfast food.
Since mealiemeal is inexpensive, poor people can afford to combine it with vegetables and be sure of one good meal a day. It can be served hot or, after it has cooled, it can be fried, giving it a different texture. Stywepap or putu is sometimes enjoyed with chakalaka as a side dish with braais.
A similar dish is polenta, from northern Italy. In the USA a very similar dish is known as Grits. The primary difference between the US and the South African dishes is that in the US the maize (or corn) used is a yellow kernel maize, whereas in South Africa maize is especially grown for human consumption with white kernels, allowing the whole kernel to be used for the maize meal.
Category: South African Cuisine
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