Friday, January 04, 2013


Thembi at home, feeding Samp and Beans to extended family and to us                                    Mans

Samp and Beans is a traditional South African staple dish that is about as comforting as food can get. Some of my earliest memories, were sneaking off to the humble dwelling of my Zulu Nanny, sitting around a pot of Samp and Beans and stuffing my face with this nourishing chow. ‘Now, why cant we eat like this at home?’ I used to think. Well now that I’m all grown up, I can.

Tea and giggles                                                                                       Mans
Thembi is a Xhosa woman from the Transkei, who now lives in Khayelitsha (one of the largest informal settlements in South Africa.) She comes in once a week to sort out the chaos in my home. Thembi grew up in rural South Africa eating mostly Samp and Beans, which she calls ‘Umngqusho’, so who better to go to, to learn how to cook this splendid dish.

Mans, armed with his camera and I headed off to Thembis’ home to sample her Samp and Beans. What a fabulous experience it turned out to be. This kind and dignified woman made us feel as though we were part of the community. Her house was beautiful and spotless. While the Samp and Beans were on the simmer, we sat around enjoying tea, giggling and chatting about food. Her home has no running water or electricity. She has only a single gas cooker, but still manages to produce delicious meals. Her steamed bread is very yummy indeed. (Watch this space)

Daves' Solar Cooker                                                        Me
Because this dish takes a long time to cook and requires plenty of energy, I started to explore energy efficient ways to make it. Most people who make it regularly could benefit from saving a buck or two on energy and of course it’s good for our environment too.
Me mate Dave leant me a solar cooker that he made. Please refer to on instructions on how to make one. So I tried my hand at Samp and Beans cooked only by ‘heavens flame’. The result was pretty good, though not quite ‘Thembi good’. I have also used a Wonderbag to make a Samp and Beans. A Wonderbag is basically an energy saving insulation unit, which is brilliant. It should be compulsory that all kitchens should have at least one. Check out the Wonderbag link on         

 All kitchens should have a Wonderbag             Me
Wot You Need
500g packet of samp and bean  mix
1 onion
1 stock cube (don’t turn your nose up at a stock cube)

Yum                                          Mans
      Wot To Do
Soak a packet of supermarket bought Samp and Beans overnight. Rinse the mix, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 2hrs, until the beans and samp are soft (you may need to add water a long the way). In a different pot, fry an onion until soft (at this stage you can add your own touch – like , bacon, browned meat, spices, curry or whatever tickles your fancy) then add a stock cube that you have dissolved in a little hot water. Finally add the onion mix to the soft Samp and Beans, just as it gets to a lava bubbling simmer it’s time to get stuck in. Eat a bowl full of this and it’ll keep you going for a loooooooong looooong looooooong time.

Thembi outside her immaculate home with Lion, the neighbors dog                                                                         Mans

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