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Duncan Phiri’s Pap

Duncan Phiri’s PapServes 4

Duncan Phiri is a Malawian living in Cape Town. He taught us how to make Mielie Pap, the staple diet in Africa made from maize. A starchy, stiff mixture, this requires a lot of stirring muscle power. It is served alongside sauce covered fish, meat, beans or even mopane worms. I sampled mopane worms as a snack with peanut sauce in Zimbabwe and, although an excellent source of protein, I think that more traditional meat tastes better. Once cooked and served, you use your hands (left or right, it does not matter in Africa) to mix a mouthful of Mielie Pap in with the sauce which you then put into your mouth and pull out your hand sucking the sauce from all of your fingers.


  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 cups of Iwisa Flour


  1. Iwisa FlourWarm the water in a pot over a moderate heat. It is important that the water does not boil at this stage.
  2. Set aside half of your Iwisa flour and with the rest gradually, slowly, slowly mix it in to the pot, stirring all of the time with a wooden spoon.
  3. Bring the mixture which now resembles a thick wallpaper paste to the boil and stir for 10 minutes like this.
  4. Now turn the heat down and gradually, slowly, slowly add the remaining Iwisa flour in to the pot and stir like mad. The mixture should become so stiff that it will not fall from the spoon and will form a ball in the middle of the pot. When this happens cook for only a few minutes more.
  5. Dip a serving spoon in cold water and scoop out large balls of the mixture and place in a dish, smoothing down the surface of the Miele Pap with the serving spoon.
  6. Serve with sauce covered fish, meat, beans or mupane worms.
  7. Roll up your sleeves and get tucked in with your hands.

Warning: This is incredibly filling and expands in your tummy so don’t eat too much!

Duncan Phiri's Pap

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