Food opens the soul and makes it smile. While exotic foods are associated with class and style, nothing surpasses traditional food. The Zulu traditional foods are still commonly consumed in South Africa. These foods connect one with their culture and traditions. Traditional foods are healthier than most convenience foods. It is time to consume these foods more often.
The Zulu people make the most extensive section of the population in South Africa. The tribe has a rich heritage, and Zulu food provides more than satiety. African foods are known to be served communally and provide time for the family to bond. Zulu culture food is also delicious because the women prepare it with plenty of love. Every South African needs to consume the Zulu traditional food because the dishes are rich in heritage, love, and nutrition.
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What food do the Zulu tribe eat?
In the past decades when modernisation, colonisation, and urbanisation had not eroded the African culture, part of the Zulu tradition was hunting and gathering. The traditional food in South Africa was in plenty. There were different varieties of vegetables and fruits. The Zulu food would be prepared communally, and several families ate from the same pot. All meals were cooked over open fires using traditional containers. The Zulu’s would forage the forests to feed their families.
The traditional foods that everyone must try are:
What is the traditional food of South Africa? Amazi is one of the best Zulu drinks. It has the taste of cottage cheese or yogurt. It is curdled milk. To prepare amazi, fresh milk is placed in a gourd that is set aside to allow the milk to curdle. After thickening, the whey is separated from the curd, and the curd is consumed. The amazi gourd should not be cleaned. Instead, it is refilled with a new batch of milk that gains a characteristic taste from being prepared in the gourd.
Among the Xhosa tribe, the umvumbo is a variation of amazi. Umvumbo is a Xhosa traditional food made of sour milk. The curdled milk is mixed with dry pap to create a delicious meal that all Xhosa people enjoy.
Maize is a staple food in South Africa until today. Many maize dishes can be prepared, but uphuthu is the most commonly prepared. It is a meal that is made from coarsely ground maize. The coarse grind is then used to create a thick porridge with a crumbly texture. Uphuthu is mainly served cold and can be accompanied by spinach or amasi.
In the Isixhosa culture, maize is used to prepare umngqusho. Umngqusho is a mixture of maize and sugar beans. It is a staple Xhosa food that is widely consumed by other South African tribes as well. Among the Sepedi, the Pedi culture food known as Thophi is also made from maize. The maize is mixed with lerotse which is a fruit. In the Ndebele food list, maize is also a staple that is prepared in different ways.
What is the main dish in South Africa? In contemporary South Africa, beef is widely consumed by people from all tribes. In the Zulu menu, beef is commonly prepared. In the tribe, the meat is divided according to sex and age. The men get the most desirable parts such as the lover, head and front legs. The women get the tripe and ribs while young boys get the hind legs and feet. Beef is a must have in the Zulu traditional wedding food menu.
Amadumbe is a root that almost resembles sweet potatoes. It is prepared similarly to potatoes. It can be boiled, steamed, or grilled. Mashed amadumbe is commonly used as a weaning food. Amadumbe is a healthy food in Zulu that is consumed by people of all ages. Today, the amadumbe is also cut into chips and fried as a French fries substitute.
Ujege is an authentic Zulu bread that is steamed and is usually served as an accompaniment to meat or curry.
6. Traditional beer (Utywala/Amahewu)
In the Zulu culture, beer making is done by women. The ingredients include sorghum, maize, and plum. The fruit or grain is soaked for one day over an open fire in a particular beer making hut. The mixture is then allowed to cool for one day and is then strained before serving. Alcoholic beer is called Utywala while the nonalcoholic variant is called amahewu.
In a Xhosa traditional wedding, some beer must be served. Traditional beer is known as Umqombothi. The beer is made from maize or sorghum malt, water, and yeast. It is nutritious and has low alcohol content.
Chakalaka is one of the most commonly consumed South African dishes to date. It is a tomato relish that is spicy. The isiZulu food recipes for chakalaka vary depending on the family. The side dish can be altered to make it more or less spicy. Initially, chakalaka was prepared by men who worked in goldmines. They mixed a variety of vegetables and beans to cook this delicious dish. The dish was later embraced by the Zulus as well as other tribes across South Africa. It is often served alongside a starchy dish.
8. Porridge (Isibhede/phutu)
Porridge commonly features in the isiZulu food. Phutu is an unfermented porridge while isibhede is the fermented porridge. Isibhede is sour and makes the tongue tingle. In Xhosa history, fermented porridge was also consumed. It was known as Umcuku.
9. Native fruits
In the past, the Zulu land had plenty of wild fruits that children, women, and men enjoyed. They were eaten fresh as part of the daily meals. The mobola plum and marula fruits were pressed for oil. The native foods included wild medlar, kei apple, num-num, monkey orange, and Milkwood.
10. Roast meat
It is common for different kinds of meat to be roasted whole in the isiZulu culture. Usually, the large roast is served on the ugqoko which is a large wooden pan. Roasted meat can either be domesticated animals such as sheep, chicken, and pigs or hunted wildlife such as buffalo and waterbuck.
In the traditional setting, Zulu traditional food was served in wooden bowls. Today, people mostly use enamel plates. Despite the change in serving utensils and the use of stoves as opposed to open fires, the Zulu food is still prepared using the same recipes. Zulu foods are nutritious and tasty. Prepare some in your house today!