Ever wondered what Xigugu was? Read about it in StudioH’s 100+ Flavours report –a comprehensive, inspiring showcase of South Africa’s foods and flavours.

“Through our ongoing consultation work and curation of projects over the years –mostly for food brands –we have identified an urgent need for comprehensive, accurate archiving of South African food knowledge,” says Hannerie Visser, Founder and Creative Director of Studio H.

100+ Flavours is the first in a series of reports that will be published on the platform and was created in collaboration with food anthropologist Dr Anna Trapido. “The aim of the report is not to draw up a definitive list of all foods for all times and all peoples, but rather to stimulate debate and whet appetites for further epicurean investigation,” says Dr Anna Trapido.

Rather than dividing the flavours across regional or cultural lines,the report showcases foods all together in alphabetical order and highlights the overlapping influences that have created regional and cultural variations on shared themes –for example, vetkoek meets magwinya, tšhotlo fuses with fynvleis, and bunny chows become kota and spathlos. 

The report doesn’t shy away from South Africa’s history, and highlights the impact that colonialism, apartheid, poverty and dispossession havehad on who consumes what, where and how often. It also draws attention to the local stories that accompany each flavour, shining a light on the history behind each food item.

Many chefs tend to just draw ontheir own foodie history as inspiration, but 100+ flavours is a concise, informative and engagingway to learn about other South Africans’ culinary traditions. And, as more international visitors return to our shores and show interest in a true South African food experience, this report is the ideal starting point for chefs who want to start experimenting with flavours within our own borders and widen their repertoire with respect.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

The 100+ Flavours report can be purchased and downloaded from here and costs from R950 per copy.

Xigugu

This Tsonga roasted corn and peanut delicacy is literally a labour of love to prepare. Pounding and sieving must be undertaken multiple times over many hours until a glossy, fudge-textured treat is formed. It is traditional for a Mutsonga bride to give her groom a bucket of xigugu at the conclusion of the lobola (dowry) negotiations. It is said to include a potion that will ensure undying love, which we totally get –it would be impossible not to love anyone who gave you a bucket of xigugu.

FLAVOUR NO. 26 | CHOPS CHUTNEY

Chops chutney is a KwaZulu-Natal Indian diaspora-style comfort food of mutton chops slow-cooked in a rich tomato, masala-laden sauce. The name does not refer to the sugary condiment that is also known as chutney but rather to the thick, sweet tomato base. Best served with rice or roti.

Recipe by Charmaine Govender-Koen

8 lamb loin chops

salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp cumin

1 T of oil

Sauce/Chutney

1 T of oil1 onion, diced

1 sprig curry leaves

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 fresh red chilli, sliced

¼ t chilli powder

½ t turmeric powder

½ t cumin seeds

1 t garam masala

1 t sugar

1 t salt & pepper

4 large tomatoes, grated

10 g chopped coriander

  • Wash lamb chops with cold running water and then pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, chilli powder and cumin. 
  • Heat the oil on medium heat and fry the chops for 3 -5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Take off the heat and place on a plate to rest. 
  • In the same pan, add the oil and cook the onion and curry leaves on a medium heat for 5 minutes until transparent. Add garlic and chilli and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add in all of the spices and cook on low for 2 minutes until fragrant. Mix in the tomatoes and about ½ cup of water and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Add the lamb chops back and mix the chutney over them. 
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.