Umnqusho is a classic dish of the Xhosa people from the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Also known as Nelson Mandela’s favorite dish, there are different names and variations of Umnqusho but they are all prepared with Samp (similar to hominy) and Sugar Beans.
Samp” is of Native American origin, coming from the Narragansett word “nasàump.” New Englanders since early colonial times have referred to cornmeal mush or cereal as “samp.”
Samp is prepared from groats (dehulled kernels) of maize – another staple food in South Africa, but the two are produced by different processes. In order to make Samp, dried corn kernels that have been stamped and chopped until broken, but not as finely ground as mealie-meal or mielie rice. The coating around the kernel loosens and is removed during the pounding and stamping process.
Samp is combined with Red Speckled Sugar Beans. These are legumes – seeds of the plant and are eaten in their immature form as green peas and beans, and the mature form as dried peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Sugar beans are rich in various minerals, vitamins, fibers, antioxidants, and other unique plant compounds. Therefore, these beans may aid weight loss, promote colon health, and moderate blood sugar levels.
How to pronounce Umnqusho
Umnqususho is pronounced as “oom-nqoo-shoh”. you have to press your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your teeth, to get the sound, the ‘q’ does not sound like a ‘k’ as it does in English.
How to make Umnqusho Recipe
Tip: If you soak the samp and beans overnight, it decreases cooking time by 1 hour.
Add water in a large heavy-based saucepan or pressure cooker and leave the samp and beans to simmer for 2- 2.5 hours.
Once the beans have softened, drain and stir in your butter and salt & pepper to taste. Samp and Beans and can be served plain or with a number of different sides like gravy or chakalaka, the favorite option being beef or lamb stew.
Every region of SA has its own cuisine and twists on certain dishes.
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