Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
4 minute read
7 Jun 2021
3:14 pm

Michelin Star chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen pushes the envelope with pap

Sandisiwe Mbhele

Simple and quick recipes to cook a South African favourite staple, maize meal.

Chef Hendrik's, Pap Caviar, Chakalaka with Balsamic caviar and Tete De Moine. Picture: Supplied

There are a few South African dishes that many of us assume should remain traditional and how they have been made over the years.

One of those is pap from the local staple maize meal. It shouldn’t be fussy, “westernised”, or made fancy for a five-star restaurant. Just keep it as it is.

But recreating or remaking many of our favourite traditional dishes can be done right. That is why Michelin Star chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen and White Star are trying to get us out of our comfort zones.

Chef Jan Hendrik is well known in the food industry for his five-star dishes that have won him numerous awards and one Michelin Star for his Restaurant Jan, in Nice, France. The chef’s partnership with White Star under the campaign “For The Love of Maize” presented an opportunity for home cooks to elevate the local staple.

ALSO READ: Pap recipe ideas: Pap French Toast Omelette and more

In a master class at Why Cook in Bryanston, Chef Jan Hendrik virtually showed three innovative ways for us to cook with maize. Some were old favourites, given fresh new takes, and the recipes are simple,  and some quite quick.

One of the standouts was the pap caviar. It was an interesting one, with the chef’s creating an alternative for caviar by reducing balsamic vinegar to a thick texture.

For all the recipes, the pap should preferably be leftover or done the night, so it can hold its shape.

All three recipes are exciting, including the pap mozzarella balls, which were well seasoned, and only matched by  our pap omelettes, which used the maize staple as an omelette filling.

Pap Caviar, Chakalaka with Balsamic caviar and Tete De Moine

Time: overnight + 1 ½ hours / SERVES: 4 – 6

The stywe pap

  • 500ml water
  • 250ml White Star Super Maize Meal
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Tete de moine or mature cheddar cheese – to taste

The sheba / tomato chakalaka sauce

  • 25ml olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 15g fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 700ml tomato puree or alternatively you can make your own
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Balsamic caviar

  • 500ml canola oil
  • 200ml balsamic vinegar
  • 50g (55ml) sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and peeled
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 leaves gelatin
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pap

  1. Pour the water into a saucepan and add 5ml salt and heat.
  2. Once the water starts to boil, reduce the heat. Gradually add the maize and stir with a balloon whisk until smooth. Cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to the lowest setting on your stove. Give the porridge a stir every now and then. After 30 minutes the porridge should be ready.
  3. Add the cheese of choice. Once cooled roll different size balls – this is caviar.
  4. Roll the caviar in uncooked maize meal and make sure they are well covered.
  5. Heat canola oil to 180°C. Fry the maize meal balls in batches till golden brown.
  6. Drain on kitchen towel.

For the sheba

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the garlic and onion.
  2. Sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add the basil, chives and tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Let the sauce simmer till thick

For the balsamic caviar

Pour the oil into a bowl and refrigerate overnight.
Place the balsamic vinegar, sugar, garlic clove and thyme into a pot and place on the heat, bring to the boil and leave to simmer or until the mixture has reduced to 150ml. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the thyme.

Place the gelatine leaf into a bowl of cold water until the gelatine leaf is soft, remove it from the water and add it into the warm balsamic reduction. Stir with a spoon until the gelatine is dissolved. Then pour the mixture into a disposable piping bag.
Place the bowl of frozen oil over another bowl that is filled with ice water. Cut a very small tip off of the piping bag and gently drizzle the balsamic reduction all around into the bowl of the frozen oil. Once you have finished drizzling the juice into the oil, place it back into the freezer. Leave for an hour and then strain the balsamic caviar out of the oil by pouring it through a sieve.

Spoon the chakalaka / sheba sauce in your serving bowls.
Arrange your fried pap caviar on top the sauce. Spoon balsamic caviar on top and garnish with fresh basil.
Finish it off with tete du moine.