Minty Mealies

As a young boy in the Transkei, one of Nelson Mandela’s favourite snacks was fresh mealies cooked over an open fire – you can just imagine the kernels bursting with warm goodness, some slightly charred and nutty.

There is something so visceral about eating food with one’s hands – some people do this so well that they can ‘get away with it’ at the most posh of restaurants. Mealies, though, are the great leveller – you HAVE TO eat them with your hands.


  • 4 Mealies – normally one per person
  • 200g Butter
  • Handful Fresh Mint – an easy herb that grows prolifically in a herb garden


  • Cook the mealies to your taste – If we are braaing, we normally cut each mealie into 3 and cook 4 (12 pieces) in the microwave for 8 minutes. Then we turn them on the fire to get the ‘gap toothed one or two kernels charred’ look.
  • Finely chop the fresh mint and add to butter – melt butter by whizzing in the microwave. Purists may melt the butter on the stove and mix the mint in to get a cloudy nutty butter mix which does go much better with the mealies.
  • Drizzle mint butter over mealies and serve.

Feeds:  4

Time:  15 minutes

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Alan Straton

Chief Cook, Bottle Washer and Broom Mechanic at MyPE
Passionate about Port Elizabeth and definitely NOT packing for Perth. Alan's ethos is epitomised in the words of Nelson Mandela; "I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society. If need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." See more articles by Alan.

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  • Annette

    having personally eaten these delights I [ouma] can reccomend them