The South African national sausage is boerewors.  A funny word that makes small English children giggle uncontrollably.  Both the rs are trilled and the w is a strong v-sound. 


With the coming weekend marking our National Braai Day – the rather surreal initiative of our government to get everyone to up their carbon footprint and make fires on which they will turn meat into carcinogenic meals – supermarket tills will ring merrily in the next few days as people stock up on their requisite boerewors.

I personally don’t like it much, which is fine as my husband won’t eat it and my daughter refuses even to speak its name.  But I had been asked to do a food shoot for a magazine; they needed a shot of a dish which often accompanies boerewors, pap en uie.

This, directly translated, is porridge and onions.  Bizarre, I agree. A stiffish maize porridge* topped with fried onions, not for me thanks.  But I had to make the dish and didn’t like to throw it away.  We had two local chaps here doing some paintwork on the house, so I dashed out and got some sausage to fry; they were very happy indeed with their unexpected lunchtime feast.

*Grits in America and Polenta in Italy.  I’d love to know if other countries have anything similar.

My spellchecker was most dismayed with this post …


45 Comments Add yours

  1. Supa says:

    I’m not a Wors fan either, I much prefer a nice pork sausage.

    1. theonlycin says:

      And yet, at outdoor festivals the smell of wors braaing always makes me want to buy a boerie roll!

      1. leigh says:

        It’s the coriander 🙂

  2. thysleroux says:

    Interesting “new” take on an “old” favorite!

    Personally I have to agree with the “pap” bit, I can’t stand it!
    Once I saw an English chap take a liberal scoop mistaking it for mash.
    What a riot! Imagine that stiff-upper-lipped dismay!
    No offense to the Brits!

    I do like a decent “boerewors”, there are differences in quality, as is the case with most things, the purer the ingredients the better.

    If its not “advertising”, for which mag are you doing the shoot?

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s for Sutra Magazine 🙂

  3. Tandy says:

    I loved mielie pap as a child, but have never made it 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      I thought about it while I was making it and want to challenge myself to using it in more interesting ways. I am going to try and use it as a tart casing for a savoury tart on Braai Day.

      1. Krokodil says:

        Pap tart is a well known dish.

      2. theonlycin says:

        I know pap tert well and make it when I know my guests will appreciate it, but I want to try something different, like a quicke crust made with mielie meal.

  4. adeeyoyo says:

    It took me YEARS to pluck up the courage to try ‘pap’. It has to be dry and crumbly for me – otherwise too much like porridge. I have also, on one occasion – mistaken it for mash… ugh! But I must admit I do like boerewors as long as it isn’t too spiced – there is just something that I hate that they put in most of the brands which is why I seldom buy it because it is like a lucky dip and I lose out 95% of the time!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I actually don’t mind ‘stywe pap’ with tomato gravy. The wors I bought was from Grabouw and the little piece I had wasn’t bad; not too fatty and nicely spiced.

      1. buttercup600 says:

        I don’t mind stywe pap with tomato gravy…and now that I can’t have it, I crave it so!! Boerewors…hmmmm nothing like a quality piece over an open fire. We are not allowed to have open fires here in Australia so obviously I long for it so 🙂 You can in fact buy it here but it’s the yellow one which I don’t like at all. Made me hungry so early in the morning!!

      2. theonlycin says:

        I’m quite surprised that they don’t have more SA produce stores over there, given the large ex-pat population. Our friends say that Perth has more Saffies than Ausies?

  5. aardvarkian says:

    I’m on my way. Give me carcinogenic foods any day of the week 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Well, come over on Friday, there’ll be masses of it 🙂

  6. Naomi says:

    Lekker post and pic, Cindy! Grabouw wors works for me, but I way prefer mash over pap, along with that tomato gravy…need lunch now!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Mash, yum, you’ve given me a lunch idea 🙂

  7. nrhatch says:

    I love grits! Mmm . . .

    1. theonlycin says:

      Sorry about the sausage pic Nancy, should have put up a warning message 😉

    2. nrhatch says:

      I fast-forwarded my mouse over that photo, using Turbo-Speed.

      The other photo looked more to my liking. Although I’ve never had grits with onion before.

      1. theonlycin says:

        I will try to remember to warn you in future …

  8. halfp1nt says:

    I don’t mind the stywe pap with a nice spicy tomato and onion gravy, but not when it’s sloppy. *shudder*
    My brother gets the most amazing wors from a butcher in Centurion – 100% meat and no soya because of my nieces’ peanut allergy.

    1. theonlycin says:

      We’re also lucky to have a few really good butcheries nearby.

  9. gospelwriter says:

    Not much of a lover of sausage myself… don’t blame your daughter for refusing to speak the name of that particular one (sounds like your spellcheck is of like mind :o) ) That word is interesting – reminds me of ‘Boer Wars’… oh no, of course, wors sausage, so, a type of farmer sausage. (Sorry, the linguist in me will go on so… 🙂 )

    1. theonlycin says:

      hahahaha @ Boer Wars, spot on!

  10. Paula says:

    Just to clear up a possible misconception here: Grits do not equal polenta!!! Not in any way shape or form. Grits (which I adore) is comprised of gound hominy. Polenta is from regular corn meal. They are decidedly different – quite obvious if you’ve ever tried a mouthful or hominy versus a mouthful of corn! As much as I love grits, I can’t stand hominy! Go figure! Also, over here, the big mistake frequently made at breakfast buffets is confusing grits with cream of wheat (farina)! While I like both, the way they are consumed is very different! Generally a bit of butter and salt with grits, where farina is often sweetened and topped with some cream or milk! Doing the opposite can result in some odd faces at tasting time!

    Also – I couldn’t stop thinking about the Boer Wars while reading your post! Wonder why? ;-D

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks for the info Paula.

  11. I’m off to practice saying boerewors with Maddie and Felix. Should cause some giggles…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Now, once they’ve had a laugh at that … sugardaddy is ‘vroetelvarkie’ … pronounced ‘froottelfaarkee’ … that should have them in stitches.

  12. souldipper says:

    This has put a huge grin on my vegetarian mug. I shouted, “Oh my gawd, Cin” when the post first opened and was relieved you redeemed yourself swiftly. Your family again confirms its discerning palate.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Stay tuned, they’ve given me an order for a Greek honey cake they saw in last night’s newspaper …

  13. slpmartin says:

    A rather curious meal….oh the things I learn about you country via you blog.

    1. theonlycin says:

      One of the things I love best about blogging is the glimpse into other cultures 🙂

  14. izziedarling says:

    cin – you are such a renaissance woman! And I LOVE grits. Thanks for the interesting factoids! 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks for the loyal visits Izzie 😀

  15. suzicate says:

    Now that is much more fun than just saying sausage…bet it even makes it taste better!

    1. theonlycin says:

      It is quite a mouthful 😉

  16. Count Czardas says:

    Boerie and pap with tomato and onion ? Marvelous. Can’t believe you lot don’t like boerie.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’d rather have trout!

  17. Artswebshow says:

    That looks very similar to our english ‘cumberland sausage ring’
    braii, ha ha.
    i used to know some south africans.
    They do love their braii’s

    1. theonlycin says:

      They do, even more than rugby 🙂

  18. Jamie Dedes says:

    Having come from the east coast, I don’t do “grits” in the southern (U.S.) way, but do “polenta” in the Italian manner and topings can be just about anything. Interesting thing here is that if you buy a package marked grits it’s cheaper than one marked polenta…and as you know, they’re the same thing. One of the things I like to do is saute wild mushrooms with olive oil, butter, white wine and herbs (I do cook with wine) and serve that over fried polenta squares. Another thing we like is a beef stew with onions and carrots (a red wine this time) and creamy polenta on the side.

    Nice that you made the gentlemen lunch and didn’t waste the food.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Your mushroom & polenta dish makes me drool 🙂

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