Recipe: Cornmeal Pap

Serves 2-4

In Botswana, Cornmeal Pap is eaten with the fingers, dipped into stews to pick up additional flavor. Like soft polenta, Cornmeal Pap goes well with any stewed meat or vegetable. The mixture stiffens up quickly, however, so serve immediately after cooking.

NOTE: Please use white cornmeal for authentic pap. (I had to substitute yellow)


1 cup cornmeal (fine or medium grind is best)
1 quart stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef)


1. In a medium pot, bring stock to a boil.

2. Stream in cornmeal slowly. Whisk continually to keep mixture from lumping.

3. As mixture thickens, you may need to switch to a wooden spoon. Allow to simmer gently until cooked to desired consistency, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately (Pap stiffens up considerably as it cools).

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  1. L'Abeille says:

    Traditional pap is made with white cornmeal, not yellow. It really does taste different, and even the cooking techniques are different. (I grew up on polenta as a staple; DH doesn’t care for that at all but he loves pap, go figure.) White cornmeal is coarser and has a more roasted flavour. I wonder if it is anything like grits, which I have yet to try.

    When we lived in Southern Africa, the year there was a drought and people had to eat imported yellow cornmeal, a whole cohort of babies were weaned onto that and later had to learn to like the white kind. My son, near Ava’s age, loved to eat pap with his fingers, rolled in balls and dipped in “sour milk” really like cultured buttermilk but thicker.

    • globaltable says:

      Wow, I wish I had known this when I tried it. How interesting about the babies eating the different kinds. I’ll have to get my hands on some white cornmeal, although I haven’t seen it in the stores around here.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Keep in touch :)


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