Traditional South African Phuthu/Uphuthu/Krummel Pap

Phuthu, often spelled Putu, is a staple, traditional South African dish that is made from Mielie-Meal (Ground maize meal).  Phuthu has a crumbly structure, and is often enjoyed in a variety of ways across South African cuisines and cultures.

Although I knew what Phuthu was, I had not personally grown up enjoying this popular South African dish. I gained more insight of this Dish, when I married in 2000.  My dearest Habibi had told me how he enjoyed this dish, and narrated stories of how it took him back down memory lane, to his childhood.  It was this particular dish that they enjoyed, on family holidays at an uncles farm in the Free State, in South Africa.  He did, and still does, love having phuthu occasionally, served at breakfast, with added sugar and milk.  It’s thanks to my mother-in-law, that I am now able to whip up a batch of phuthu for my habibi to enjoy.

September is Heritage Month in South Africa, and I am presently doing a #foodevamarsayheritagefoods and #southafricanheritagefoods initiative across my social media platforms.  This is to highlight the variety of foods that we LOVE and have Grown up with, each within the rainbow spectrum of cultures that make up South Africa.  Do look out for these hashtags, follow them and Participate in it.  I would love to see and learn more about the types of heritage foods you have grown up with.  

Phuthu/Uphuthu/Krummelpap are some of the names by which this popular dish is called in South Africa. Krummelpap, is dutch/afrikaans, literally meaning ‘Crumbly Porridge’  There are a few ways in which mealie meal(ground maize meal) can be prepared.  This version is drier and more crumblier.  Phuthu Pap can be enjoyed at a Braai, with grilled meats, curries or with a simple vegetable dish, or topped with tomato relish/chutney.  Another way Phuthu is enjoyed by many, like I mentioned earlier, Is by adding sugar and milk to it and enjoy as a breakfast option.  Many South African do also enjoy this with Amasi/Maas (a fermented milk product).  Maize Meal is Gluten Free, making Phuthu a great alternate addition to your meals.

So whichever way you choose to enjoy this, This traditional South African dish is one for your recipe archives.  Have You tried making Phuthu/Krummelpap??  

SOME Other Traditional South African Recipes you can try out from Foodeva Marsay blog…

Traditional South African Battered Fish

South African Bollas aka Goolgoolas

Traditional South African Milk Tart

ROTI – South African Style

Phuthu Pap/Krummelpap

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Author: Foodeva Marsay (@foodeva_marsay)


2 and 1/2 Cups Water

1 Teaspoon Salt

2 Cups Maize Meal (mealie meal)

1 Tablespoon Butter


~  To a thick based pot, Add in the The Water and Salt, and bring to boil

~ When the water reaches a rolling boil, carefully add in 1 and 1/2 Cups of the Maize Meal (Mielie Meal) to the centre on the boiling water in pot. 

~ Close with a tight fitting lid.  Do Not Stir.  Allow to cook on medium heat for 5-8 minutes, without opening the pot.

~  After the initial cook of 5-8 minutes, Lower Stove heat, Lift the pot lid and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or handle of wooden spoon.

~ Now cook the Phuthu Pap, for 30 minutes, on low heat with the pot lid on.

~ After 15 minutes, sprinkle in the remainder 1/2 Cup Maize Meal (meilie meal) , and use the wooden spoon or fork to fluff up the phuthu pap. 

~ The Phuthu Pap will cook with steam being realised within the closed pot.  Take care the Phuthu  Pap doesn’t stick to bottom of the pot or burn. 

~ Stir or fluff up the Phuthu Pap in between to create the crumbly structure needed. 

~ Before serving, add in the 1 Tablespoon Butter while the Phuthu Pap is hot, and stir through well. 

~ Serve Hot with Sugar and Milk As a breakfast option. Or Serve as a side dish to your Braai, grilled meats, Curry, Vegetables, or topped with a Tomato Relish/Chutney.


~ I like to use a non Stick Spray at the Bottom of my pot before starting, Just so that the phuthu pap doesn’t stick too much.

~ Adjust Salt if you prefer, Best to taste at the end of cook and season again lightly if need be.

~ This Traditional South African Dish can also be made over hot coals, take care with not burning the phuthu.  

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Traditional South African Phuthu
Phuthu/Krummel Pap served.

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Traditional South African Phuthu/Uphuthu/Krummelpap
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2 thoughts on “Traditional South African Phuthu/Uphuthu/Krummel Pap”

  1. Salam

    my phuthu still in the pot, i have eaten it as yet, but by the look of it, I Rafika am giving you a thumbs up.

    I have been trying to cook this for years, but it never came out as perfect as today.

    thank you

    1. Wa Alaikum Salaam. Oh Wow, Alhamdulillah Rafika. I am so glad that you tried this recipe, and more importantly that you have taken a moment to drop your feedback. Truly appreciated. I do hope you and your family enjoyed this.

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