Putu pap and livers recipe

Putu pap and livers recipe

This basic South African staple, known variously as putu pap or maize meal, may be consumed either as a morning food or a dinner food, depending on how it is prepared. Breakfast sloppy pap, also known as slap pap, is often made by adding additional water to the cooking process. At a meal, like a braai, it’s prepared with other meat and seasoned to the individual’s liking, which often means making it crumblier. Together, the putu pap and livers on our menu represent a wonderful fusion of traditional South African cuisine and comfort food. It’s like liver and onions, but in South African style.

Putu pap and livers tips

In order to properly absorb the sauce, the “pap” (a staple food in South Africa) should be somewhat crumbly and a little bit sticky. Browned ox livers are filled with flavour and iron, and the addition of bacon gives them a smoky, fatty flavour. The sauce and the veggies provide another layer of delicious flavour.

You know what to do with any remaining cornmeal in the kitchen. If you want a browned bottom crust on your corn, turn up the heat, add more milk, and burn the bottom. Then, combine some burnt parts with some oatmeal, sugar, and plenty of butter and milk to make one of the world’s greatest desserts.

As a traditional dessert, traditional cinnamon dumplings would go well with this meal.

Enjoy some home-cooked South African cuisine with your friends. This putu pap and livers dish is a wonderful family favourite, complete with a delicious dessert.

Putu pap and livers recipe

Putu pap and livers recipe

Recipe by Irene Muller

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: South African

Difficulty: Easy

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Total time: 55 minutes

Make this hearty and delicious putu pap and livers with stir fried vegetables.


  • For the pap
  • cups boiling water

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2 cups maize meal

  • 60g butter

  • For the livers
  • 250g ox liver, cleaned, sliced thinly and dusted with seasoned flour (maize meal can be used) 

  • 250g bacon strips, chopped

  • ½ each red or yellow and green pepper, chopped

  • 1 red onion, chopped

  • 1 brown onion, chopped

  • 1 tbsp. dried herbs of your choice

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable stock mixed in 1 cup of water

  • butter

  • 4 tbsp. oil

  • salt and black pepper

  • ½ cup red wine (optional) 

  • 5 spring onions, chopped before serving

  • parsley, chopped before serving

Method – PAP

  • Pour boiling water and salt into the saucepan with a thick base and lid. Bring to the boil.
  • Add the maize meal to the boiling water and leave it just as it is. Close the lid without stirring.
  • Reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  • Remove lid and stir well with a large kitchen fork.
  • Replace lid, reduce heat even more and steam for about half an hour or until done, but be careful not to burn it.
  • Fluff with a fork or wooden spoon a few times during cooking. Set aside.
  • For the stir-fry vegetables
  • In a large frying pan, add a knob of butter, when melted stir-fry the onions until light golden brown, add the peppers and herbs, sauté the vegetables until cooked but still firm.
  • For the livers
  • You can let the livers rest overnight in milk after cleaning. Before cooking, season the liver slices well and dust with corn starch, flour or even the maize meal.
  • In a skillet or frying pan add a knob of butter and a little oil, that will help not to burn. It is important that the oil and butter is heated in the pan before food is placed in the pan
  • Fry the bacon pieces until golden brown, remove and set aside in a dish to use later.
  • Add more butter and oil if needed, add the well-coated liver and fry until crispy and golden brown on both sides. Set aside with the bacon.
  • To the same frying pan, you add the stock and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes on medium heat.  When the sauce has reduced a little, add the liver, bacon and red wine, let it simmer on reduced heat for another few minutes.
  • While this dish is simmering, heat the vegetables in the frying pan again, when heated fold into the Putu pap. Remove the liver from the heat, add the chopped spring onions and parsley just before serving. Season with black pepper.


  • TIP: Pan-frying is like sautéing except that a little more oil or fat/butter is used and since the process requires more time than sautéing, the food that is cooked does not have to be as thin.

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