I won’t lie to you and act like I enjoy every dish that I make. Growing up in Soweto was a mixture of school, playing on the street or in the nearby veld, a steady convoy of family gatherings and church. Having visitors on Sundays was an excuse for my mom to have a social occasion. She would cook from sunrise until lunchtime.
My mom is a moTswana and my dad a moPedi. Although sorghum (similar to millet) is a crop which grows all over the country, for some reason baTswana have come to be associated with making this stiff sour porridge. I’ve never been a big fan of it. I prefer to make it a soft porridge and have it with sugar and butter for breakfast. Ting is made from a blend of fermented sorghum (we call it mabele) and maize meal. Depending on region and who taught you to make it, some people add more maize meal to the mixture than sorghum for a lighter and less sour porridge. Some also ferment the sorghum together with the maize meal and it’s also considered taboo to some people to add salt to it. I personally prefer it seasoned.
It goes well with stews and grilled meats.
120g Maize meal
1 cup Mabele-a-ting (coarse ground sorghum)
1 & half cups lukewarm water
3 cups water
1. Mix the sorghum and the 1 and a half cups warm water together and place in a plastic container. Seal the container with plastic or a lid and place it in a warm area to ferment for about 3 days. (note, it does get pretty pungent!)
2. Bring a pot to the boil with the 3 cups of water. Add your salt to the water, about 2 pinches
3. Mix the remaining maize meal with the fermented sorghum with a fork and stir well to remove any lumps (I prefer doing it this way as this makes less lumps in the final product).
4. Gradually add the mixture to the water whilst stirring constantly. Keep stirring for a few minutes until it begins to thicken slightly.
5. Cover and allow it to simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes. Every now and then returning to stir the pot with a large wooden spoon.
Note: The longer you cook the porridge, the thicker it will become. For a more stiff porridge, use less water.