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How to Cook (Make) - Stiff Porridge (Maize Meal)- A South African Favourite Recipe for Grits

Updated on March 3, 2012

Maize Porridge - Stuiwe Pap

A staple food throughout Southern Africa. It is made from ground Maize kernels, another name for it is Polenta.

It comes in two colours, the most sought after amoungst the Africans is white. The other is yellow which is more popular with the Italian and other European countries.

How to cook it

Maize meal, is that smooth white creamy porridge served with milk sugar and a dollop of butter.

This is the winter breakfast cereal that most of us grew up with.


1 cup of maize meal

3 cups of water

Salt to taste


Mix the cup of cold water to the maize meal and form a smooth paste

Place two cups of water in a bowl with the salt in the microwave. Microwave the water until it boils.

.Add the mixture to the boiling water and mix thoroughly using a wooden spoon, make sure that all the lumps, dissolved.

Place in the microwave and cook it on high for 3-4 minutes until it is cooked, stir occasionally.

Serve hot as suggested above.

The traditional Stiff Porridge at the Braai

This is the same basic maize meal, the difference this is used to go with the meat at the next Barbecue or (Braai that is another subject that will be covered very shortly.)


1 cup of maize meal

2 cups of water

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon of butter


Place the water in a large bowl in the microwave, and cook till boiling.

Add the salt to the water and mix it till disolved.

Slowly add the maize meal to the water mixing it while adding, useing a wooden spoon. Mix thouroughly all the maize is mixed, then mix in the butter.

Microwave on high for 3 minutes, remove and mix thouroughly. The porridge should be very thick and stiff.

Microwave for another 3 minutes, mix and cover with a lid. Let stand for 2 minutes.

Serve with sausages, stews, casseroles and curries. A good change from mashed potatoes and rice.

Sufficient to serve 4 people - depending on there appetites.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Mix this sauce with a box of pasta for a quick weeknight meal or use it as a dip for crsuty bread. My favorite idea: add a few sundried tomatoes to the sauce and use it to top this Sundried Tomato Polenta.

    • Just_Rodney profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodney Fagan 

      6 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Thanks for the comment, appreciate your inputs.

    • profile image

      Henco Vanton 

      6 years ago

      Hey Rodney, please note that the propper spelling is actually stywe pap (for eating with a braai, stew, etc) or slap pap (for eating as a breakfast). You also have to keep in mind that there are various types of pap and all types are not cooked the same. Braai pap is much coarser than other types and is by far more acceptable with a BBQ. It also disolves easier than the finer maize meal but take also longer to cook. An old time winner in traditional South African cooking is "Krummel Pap". This also is better prepared outside on a BBQ rather than on a stove or microwave en goes well with "potjie" or oxtail. A well prepared tomato and onion relish mix compliments "krummel pap" very well.

    • Just_Rodney profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodney Fagan 

      7 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Suziecat7, So pleased that I could tweak those taste buds, so that you feel the need to have a dish of Grits. Pap or Polenta, as you know it.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • suziecat7 profile image


      7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I love grits and polenta. Thanks for this. It's been awhile since I've had any and will this week.

    • Just_Rodney profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodney Fagan 

      8 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Thanks Soneblom

    • soneblom profile image


      8 years ago from South Africa

      Great hub Rodney!

    • Just_Rodney profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodney Fagan 

      8 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Jaye, thanks for telling us about the serving methods of the deep south, they echo what we do over here in South Africa. That, Pumpkin and what is called over here as "Marog", wild spinach, this being there staple diet.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      8 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Rodney, in the southern states of the U.S. (especially what is known as the Deep South), we have a white corn product known as grits that makes a super-delicious breakfast--or anytime--dish. (I notice another reader mentioned grits in her comment.) When cooked, grits is served with salt, black pepper and either butter or margarine. Some people melt cheese in their grits and add other food items. Cooked plain grits can also be used as a thickener in a multitude of dishes.


    • Just_Rodney profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodney Fagan 

      9 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      clspeakstoo, glad you dropped by, the canned milk is nice with the grits too.

      What is also great is add some creamed corn to the stiff porridge recepie, works out real nice as well.

    • clspeakstoo profile image


      9 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      This hub reminded me of the annual brunch I cook on Christmas day. Grits is the main course. My Ghanaian frieds love to add canned milk to the grits. I'll have to try your porridge recipe so I can see the difference. Thanks

    • Just_Rodney profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodney Fagan 

      10 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      It is an easy dish to make, very tasty as well, thanks for the comment

    • compu-smart profile image


      10 years ago from London UK

      I have grown up on porridge but have never made my own! The recipe looks pretty easy!

    • Just_Rodney profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodney Fagan 

      11 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Thanks for the comment, yes, there is quite a lot of dishes that can be made with polenta. I may blog a couple in the future.

    • Chef Jeff profile image

      Chef Jeff 

      11 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      Polenta is also popular in Italy. I remember some delicious side dishes of it when I lived there briefly as a teenager.

      Keep up the good recipe writing!

    • Just_Rodney profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodney Fagan 

      11 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Thanks will try to do so.

    • pjdscott profile image


      11 years ago from Durham, UK

      Very interesting hub Rodney - it's great to see how food is prepared in various countries. Keep up the good work.

    • Karen Ellis profile image

      Karen Ellis 

      11 years ago from Central Oregon

      Hi Rodney,

      Yes, it's called polenta in the US. It's use for making tamales, among other things, I'm sure. It's used quite a bit by the Hispanic population, probably much like you suggest with Stuiwe Pap.

      I have another thing to talk to you about and will send you a personal message and hope you get it as I can't figure out how mine works. So, let me know if you don't get it.


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