Chomolia (African kale) in peanut sauce, served with uphuthu
African kale is like normal kale and is a perennial most prominent in Zimbabwe and Zambia, but it is grown in various provinces of South Africa, too.
For the tomato and onion relish
2 medium tomatoes
1 medium onion
For the peanut sauce
20g ground peanuts
10mℓ peanut oil
5mℓ honey (optional)
Salt for seasoning
2½ cups maize meal (alternatives: polenta or couscous)
1 cup water, with pinch of salt
For the chomolia
250g chomolia (African kale)
15mℓ cooking oil
60mℓ tomato purée
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, diced
1 small bunch spring onions,
½ small green pepper, diced
Salt and black pepper
Small knob of butter
For the tomato and onion relish: Peel, wash, then finely dice the tomatoes and onion.
For the peanut sauce: In a small pan, heat the ground peanuts for 1 minute, then remove from heat and pour into blender.
Add peanut oil, salt and honey (optional). Blend until thick but runny.
Taste the seasoning, adding more oil if necessary (depending on the natural oil and moisture in the peanuts).
For uphuthu: On the stove bring 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small saucepan.
Lower the heat then pour 2 cups of maize meal into the centre of the pot. Close with lid for 2–3 minutes.
Remove the lid and, using a fork, stir vigorously until the maize is coarse, like couscous. If it’s a bit wet, add the remaining maize meal, or not, depending on how moist you like uphuthu.
Close lid and cook on low heat for 15–20 minutes. The crust may go golden at the bottom. That’s fine.
For the chomolia: To slice chomolia, fold each leaf in half, then cut stems and keep them aside. Slice the stems into slivers and use them, too. Working with batches of several leaves at a time, roll them up like cigars to consolidate them for easy chopping.
Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot, then add onion and garlic.
Stir, then add the green pepper and spring onion.
When the pepper and onion are soft, add the chopped chomolia and tomato purée and simmer for 10 minutes (chomolia needs a bit of time to soften).
Pour in the peanut sauce and mix well.
Taste for seasoning and adjust according to your taste (a little goes a long way).
Cook for another 5 minutes and remove from heat.
Take half or less of the butter, rub inside a ramekin (or tea cup), then spoon in the phuthu while pressing it down as you fill the ramekin to the brim.
Quickly turn the ramekin on to a plate and unmould the phuthu.
Using a dessert spoon, shape and place the chomolia on to the phuthu – gently does it as you want a perfect tower!
Using your artistic hand, place the tomato and onion relish around the plate and finally adorn the top with the coriander flowers or rosemary flowers.
Recipe from Nompumelelo Mqwebu's Through The Eyes of an African Chef