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Isinkwa Sommbila with Chakalaka

Zola Nene’s Isinkwa Sommbila with Chakalaka


Zola Nene's Isinkwa Sommbila, or steamed mielie bread, pays homage to her maternal gogo. Enjoy with homemade chakalaka or a dollop of butter and jam.

  • Yields: 1 loaf |
  • Difficulty:

  • Prep Time : 30 mins |
  • Cook Time : 1:30 hours
Categories: Breads, Vegetables
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Isinkwa Sommbila

small knob of butter
4 mielie cobs
2 large eggs
150 ml milk
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
2 tsp (10 ml) white sugar
500 g cake flour
2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder


2 Tbsp (30 ml) oil
1 onion, diced
½ red pepper, diced
¼ yellow pepper
¼ green pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp (15 ml) grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp (15 ml) curry powder
2 carrots, washed and grated
1 x 410g tin baked beans
½ C (125 ml) water
salt and pepper

Isinkwa Sommbila

Grease a loaf tin with butter.

Strip the kernels off the mielie cobs.

Use a food processor or a pestle and mortar to grind half of the kernels into a coarse paste.

Add the mielie paste, as well as the whole mealie kernels, eggs and milk to a bowl and mix to combine.

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 the mixture 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.

Once the bread is risen and cooked through, remove from the pot and allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin.


Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan; sauté the onion, peppers, garlic and ginger until soft. Add curry powder then sauté for a further minute. Add the carrots and the baked beans, stir together and then add the water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Enjoy slices of  Isinkwa Sommbila with chakalaka as a savoury dish, or for a sweet treat, try with butter and jam.