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Zola Nene's Isinkwa Sommbila with Chakalaka & Leopard's Leap Pinotage

Zola Nene's Isinkwa Sommbila with Chakalaka & Leopard's Leap Pinotage

I remember my maternal gogo letting me help her make “isinkwa sommbila” (steamed mealie bread) one time, she sat me on the kitchen table and showed me how to crank her manual hand grinder as she picked the kernels off the mielies before mixing it into a batter and steaming it for hours to form a delicious bread. She passed on when I was very young so I that is such a special memory for me and the dish always reminds me of her. She was a great cook, I always wonder what she’d make of my food or my cooking if she was alive today.

Zola Nene's Isinkwa Sommbila Recipe

Makes 1 loaf

4 mielie cobs

2 large eggs

150 ml milk

1 tsp salt

2 tsp white sugar

500g cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

Grease a loaf tin with butter.

Strip the kernels off the cobs.

Grind half the kernels in a food processor or with a pestle and mortar into a coarse paste.

In a bowl, combine ground and whole mealie kernels, eggs and milk.

In another bowl, sift together the salt, sugar, flour and baking powder, and then add this to the mielie mixture.

Stir to combine, but make sure not to overmix.

Spoon into the prepared loaf tin then place the tin into a large pot. Pour boiling water into the pot to come halfway up the side of the loaf tin, cover and simmer for 1.5 hours, topping up the water during cooking if needed.

Serve with butter and jam or with Chakalaka (see recipe below) and a glass of the versatile Leopard's Leap Pinotage.

Chakalaka Recipe

 2 Tbs oil

1 onion, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/4 yellow pepper

1/4 green pepper

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 Tbs grated fresh ginger

1 Tbs curry powder

2 carrots, grated

1 tin baked beans

1/2 cup water

Salt and pepper

Heat oil, then sauté onion, peppers, garlic and ginger until soft. Add curry powder then sauté for a minute. Add carrots and the baked beans, stir together then add the water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

ABOUT THE CHEF:

Two-time cookbook author glazed in culinary success

Culinary maestro and cookbook author – Zola Nene – is whipping up a storm 

Down-to-earth, bubbly, stylish, talented and South Africa’s culinary sweetheart; these are but a few of the many superlatives that describe two-time cookbook author, TV chef and food stylist Zola Nene. With a personality that packs a lot of flavour and an inescapable passion for food, Nene swapped her B Comm Law studies for the invigorating smells of the kitchen. A choice which has led her to a successful culinary career spanning over 10 years.

In 2019, Nene scooped the Best in the World award in the TV category at the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for her second cookbook titled Simply Zola. This following on from the success of her first published cookbook titled Simply Delicious in May 2017, which won Nene the award for TV (English) Celebrity Chef, and was placed second in the category of Best (English) TV Chef Book at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards that same year.

Staying on course during 2019 and maintaining a flop proof recipe for success, Nene whipped up hearty meals and shared warm laughs with some of South Africa’s brightest stars across 13 episodes of her own cooking show titled Celeb Feasts with Zola, which aired on Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161).

Known as a formidable force to be reckoned with in the kitchen, but now the world knows it too thanks to her guest appearance in the second season of National Geographic reality show Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted. Nene featured alongside celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, in an episode that premiered on National Geographic (DStv channel 181) in 2020.

 Photography by Crush Magazine

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