Dorah Sitole continues her food safari around Africa and finds the very best offal in the Free State
Offal, popularly known as mala-mogodu or simply mogodu, is one of the few traditional dishes that has made a successful transition into the urban lifestyle. It is mandatory to feature tripe on your buffet menu for a celebration.
I have fond memories of my late aunt sending us to the butcher and emphasising that we must make sure to get ulusu olunesinyaka - tripe with fat (lard). The fat gives the tripe flavour and keeps it moist during cooking. These days some prefer to remove the lard from the tripe, for health reasons. Bleached tripe is a definite no-no; it has lost all the elements that make mogodu taste like mogodu . Adding a spoonful of vinegar to tripe makes it less pungent when cooking.
To jazz up the tripe I sometimes add Indian spices or make it into a creamy stew with onions and butter beans.
In my opinion, the Basotho from the Free State have the best recipe for offal. Called dikahare, it includes the stomach (mogodu), intestines (mala) and lungs, all cooked together until very soft. The meat is then sliced thinly to make diretlo.
In the Free State, you are likely to be served diretlo with ting (sour porridge) or maqebekwane. Not to be confused with ujeqe from KwaZulu-Natal, maqebekwane contains sibidiso (fermented mielie meal) which gives it a sourish taste. To make sibidiso, mix a paste of mielie meal and cold water. Cover and keep in a warm dark place for about two days to ferment.
2 beef stock cubes dissolved in 1 litre water
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
Clean offal thoroughly and rinse under cold running water, making sure it is completely free of any grit, especially the intestines. Bring stock to the boil and cook offal gently for about 2 hours for mutton and 3 hours for beef offal. Remove meat from pot and cut into strips. Add onions and garlic to sauce, return meat to the pot and season with salt and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce has reduced to make a thickish stew. Serve warm with maqebekwane.
360g (3 cups) cake flour
5ml (1 tsp) salt
30ml (2 tbsp) sugar
10g (1 sachet) instant dry yeast
250ml (1 cup) fermented mielie-meal paste (sibidiso)
1 large egg, beaten
About 500ml (2 cups) lukewarm water
Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Add sugar and yeast. Make a well in the middle and add sibidiso and egg. Mix well, adding enough water to form a soft, pliable dough. Knead for 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise until doubled in size. Knock down and place in a greased enamel bowl. Allow to rise again until doubled in size. Place the bowl in a saucepan containing enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the bowl. Cover pot tightly and steam gently for 1 hour, adding water if necessary.
Dorah's budget tips
Ask your butcher for inexpensive off-cuts, which are perfect for one-pot stews and soups cooked with potatoes, rice or pasta.
When cooking cheaper cuts of meat and offal, bring stew to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently. Slow cooking makes the meat more tender.
To stretch a stew, add legumes like lentils or barley to bulk it up.
Add fresh vegetables to leftover meat to create a new dish the next day.
Beans are high in protein and an excellent substitute for meat.