Home Food & Health African Food RECIPE: Local maize favourites Umdoko, Umqa and Maize Spiral Chips

RECIPE: Local maize favourites Umdoko, Umqa and Maize Spiral Chips


The people of Mzansi are known for their love of corn or mealies. It’s a staple food in most households that give us our much loved mealie pap.

KwaZulu-Natal small scale farmer Nokuthula Khoza has started doing things differently by using her extended maize crops to make masa to create other dishes for her family to enjoy.

Masa is a corn dough that comes from ground nixtamalized corn, traditionally used in Latin American dishes to make corn tortillas, tamales and pupusas (thick cornmeal flatbread).

To begin with, the maize is soaked and cooked in lime water. The outer covering is then washed off. This increases the nutritional value of the maize, making it easier to digest, the flavour is improved and it is more easily ground.

It is now called nixtamal and can be dried, cooked as whole kernels, or ground to make masa. This sticky wet mixture that can be used in various ways.

Here are some recipes to try:


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  • 1 litre water
  • 2 ½ cups masa
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 3 lemons


  • Boil water first
  • Once the water starts to boil, mix masa in a small bowl with cold water. Stir till smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into the boiling water and stir as you are pouring it in the pot.
  • Let it simmer for 20 minutes
  • After 20 minutes enjoy your umboko

Umqa (Porridge)/Isijingi


  • Butternut
  • Sugar
  • Masa


  • Peel and chop butternut into pieces.
  • Add a little bit of sugar to your taste.
  • Pour water in a pot and place on the fire/stove.
  • Let it boil until the butternut is soft, once the butternut is smooth enough, add the
  • Stir until it is firmly mixed.
  • Let the mixture simmer for 25 minutes. The Umqa is ready for you to enjoy.

Soft Drink


  • 3 cups of masa
  • 1 litre water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 lemon


  • Cook the above ingredients like porridge.
  • Must not be a thick porridge.
  • Wait for it to cool, and you can drink it.

Maize Spiral Chips


  • 1 cup masa
  • Pinch Salt
  • Little bit of sugar


Mix together and fry in a dry pan (without oil)

Sopi (Xhosa meal)


  • Boiled kernels
  • Boiled beans
  • 1 potato
  • Salt
  • Water


  • Pre-cook kernels.
  • Add kernels to beans in a pot.
  • Add rest of ingredients and cook until soft.
  • Serve with masa bread


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Magda Du Toit
Magda Du Toit
Magda du Toit has worked in the agricultural industry for more than 30 years and is a former chairperson of Agricultural Writers SA. Her journey started when she was a journalist for a local newspaper in Bela-Bela in Limpopo, where she covered farmer’s day events and reported on various agricultural topics within the community.


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