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On 24 September, in the spirit of nation building and unity, I suggest you serve braaied meat with umngqusho, a traditional Xhosa dish made with samp and beans and one of Nelson Mandela’s favourites.

Umngqusho recipe

Serves 8 to 10.

Samp needs to soak in water overnight, so start this dish the day before.

You’ll need:

  • 500 g samp-and-bean mix
  • about 4 litres water
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 125 g brown or white onion soup powder
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Here’s how:

Soak the samp and beans overnight in a litre of water. Drain and rinse well the next morning. Put the soaked and rinsed samp and beans into a large potjie and add three litres of water (no salt). Bring to the boil and cook for two hours until almost soft. Control the heat by adding or removing coals so it’s not boiling rapidly, but it’s hotter than the very gentle simmer of oxtail potjie (let’s call it a medium-paced simmer). If at any stage it looks too dry, add a little more water.

Add the onion, carrots, potatoes and tomatoes, then simmer for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. It shouldn’t dry out – the water inside the potjie should be just visible between the samp and beans.

Gently stir in the onion soup powder until it’s well mixed. Continue to simmer uncovered for another five to 15 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and you have a thick, hearty mixture.

Taste and season with salt if necessary (remember some onion soup powders are very salty already). Take it off the fire and stir in the cheese. Leave to stand for five minutes, then serve.



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