Samp Recipes South Africa


If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that all recipes featured here have endearing childhood memories associated with them. None however to the same extent as samp! Amma‘s samp was braised in butter, with decadent amounts of thinly sliced onions, dried chillies and jeera.  It was one of our favourite lunch meals, best enjoyed with tomato chutney or herbs curry. This post features two recipes, jump to the recipe or scroll to continue reading.


Amma’s Homemade Samp

Maize field

Image Source: @mpetrick

I mentioned Amma‘s samp project in the mealie bread recipe. Growing up, we often experienced food from seed to table and participated in the planting and harvesting processes because Amma‘s garden contained nearly every vegetable imaginable. We even grew mealies in two separate ‘gardens‘ away from home! Going there was like an excursion.  One year we had such an excess that even after selling some, there was still surplus left over. Amma‘s samp project was to make homemade samp, by shelling dried mealies, boiling then peeling off the skin of the maize kernels by hand. My two sisters and I spent the better part of one school holiday making homemade samp! It was definitely worth the effort because it was the best.

Samp FAQ

What is Samp

Samp (Umngqusho), also known as Hominy, is essentially shelled maize kernels. Unlike Amma‘s homemade samp, commercially produced samp is made through a process of Nixtamalization, where maize kernels are soaked in an alkaline solution. This helps remove the skin of the kernel, dissolves otherwise non-digestible elements and prevents maize kernels from sprouting when stored. It is a popular ingredient in Mexican and Southern African cuisines.

Where to Buy Samp

I haven’t had samp in years and had considered making my own before I came across it in an Indian food store that sells both Asian and African foods! Samp can be found in nearly every South African supermarket. If you are abroad, try Mexican or African food stores or in some cases Indian Shops which sell African food.

How to Cook Samp

Samp is best cooked like other legumes and beans, by soaking overnight then boiling until soft. After boiling it can be prepared by braising, added to a meat stew or made creamy like risotto. Samp can be served as a side dish or meal on its own.

Samp and Beans Recipe

Samp and Beans were a typical meatless Monday dish, featuring at least once a month. Amma often boiled the samp and beans together, I prefer the same as it enables a fusion of flavours. This also results in a brown appearance, if you prefer samp to remain white then boil the two separately before braising. Amma‘s term braising meant tempering onion, jeera, or mustard seeds and dried chillies in oil. This method is also used to make pumpkin curry, braised dhal and kadala. This braised samp recipe is both easy and delicious it requires no milk or cremora, yet has a creamy texture to it form the use of butter or ghee. It can be enjoyed on its own or as a side to vegetable curry or grilled meat.

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Yield: 4

Author: Food Like Amma Used to Make It

Samp and Beans Recipe

Samp and Beans Recipe

Prep time: 2 H & 10 M Cook time: 10 M Total time: 2 H & 20 M
Samp and beans are boiled then braised in finely sliced onion, jeera seeds and dried chillies.


For soaking

  • 1 cup samp or hominy
  • 1 cup of sugar beans
  • 3 cups of water
  • for boiling
  • 4 cups water + more (as needed)
  • salt

For braising

  • 4 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 2 medium onions, sliced fine
  • 1 level tablespoon jeera seeds
  • 4 dried chillies (desired limit if you prefer samp hot)


  1. Rinse both samp and beans before soaking. Also, remove any stones or unwanted particles.
  2. Soak overnight. Use a large container because they will swell in size from the absorbed water.
  3. Rinse again.
  4. Boil together or separately for 2 hours, or until soft when pressed.
  5. Remove from heat, drain.
  6. Prepare onions, slice thin.
  7. Heat a pan on medium heat. Add jeera seeds, roast for a minute or two. Remove from pan and set aside.
  8. Add butter or ghee.
  9. Add sliced onions
  10. Add dried chillies
  11. Add jeera seeds
  12. Fry until the onions are slightly brown and soft.
  13. Add samp and beans. Mix then allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  14. Remove from heat, serve warm with tomato chutney.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @foodlikeamma on Instagram and hashtag it #foodlikeammausedtomake;;#sampandbeans
Created using The Recipes Generator

Mutton and Samp

Mutton and Samp make for a hearty Autumn or Winter meal. It is samp and or beans simmered in a spicy mutton curry. I prefer a dry mutton curry base with no whole tomatoes, just tomato paste for a thick gravy. Boiled samp is added over the curry layer then allowed to boil through, just like in the process of making a Durban biryani. I prefer using the shoulder or neck lamb or mutton meat cuts with bone, to make a hearty stew-like dish, reminiscent of dhal ghost. For this recipe, I have used samp and beans. To make with samp only, simply boil samp on its own.

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Author: Food Like Amma Used to Make It

Samp and Mutton Recipe

Samp and Mutton Recipe

Prep time: 2 H & 10 MCook time: 30 MTotal time: 2 H & 40 M
Mutton and Samp has a hearty stew-like taste and texture. It is samp and sometimes beans simmered in a fiery mutton curry.


For Samp

  • 1 cup samp or hominy
  • 1 cup of sugar beans
  • 3 cups of water for soaking
  • 4 cups water + more (as needed) for boiling
  • salt

For Mutton Curry

  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon curry leaves
  • bay leaves
  • 1,5  tablespoons Durban masala
  • half teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon dhania jeera powder
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 5 tablespoons of  vegetable oil


  1. Prepare the samp, by soaking overnight.
  2. Boil for 2 hours, or until soft when pressed.
  3. Remove from heat, drain all water. Allow cooling.
  4. Prepare the mutton curry component.
  5. Heat a pan on medium heat.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons oil.
  7. Add mutton or lamb meat.
  8. Brown meat, turning every few minutes for even browning.
  9. Add finely chopped onions, curry leaves, bay leaves and ginger and garlic.
  10. Add remaining oil. Fry until the onions are soft.
  11. Add powdered spices.
  12. Fry for a minute or two.
  13. Add tomato paste.
  14. Add water.
  15. Cover with lid and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  16. Add boiled samp. Cover and allow to simmer for another 15 minutes.
  17. Remove lid, allow excess water to evaporate leaving a thick luscious gravy.
  18. Remove from heat, serve warm with a carrot salad.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @foodlikeamma on Instagram and hashtag it #foodlikeammausedtomakeit;#muttonandsamp
Created using The Recipes Generator


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  1. Hi, could you use a pressure cooker to cook the samp?

  2. Hi Moheni, thanks for stopping by! I have not tried it myself but according to some sources it can be done. It reduces cooking time to just 40 minutes! See…

  3. Thank you for getting back to me. I really enjoy your recipes. Good to have you back posting regularly.

  4. This is great recipe. I also recently came across CookPad, which has lots of local dishes like Samp, Dombolo etc. made from home cooks.

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