Papa Recipe: Traditional Basotho Maize Porridge from Lesotho

Dish recipes: Papa
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Papa, a staple food in Lesotho, is a simple yet hearty maize porridge enjoyed by many across the country. Made from maize meal and water, this dish has been a part of Basotho cuisine for generations, offering comfort and sustenance to families in Lesotho and beyond.


2 cups maize meal

4 cups water

Pinch of salt (optional)


In a large pot, bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Slowly add the maize meal to the boiling water, stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture, stirring frequently, for about 20-30 minutes or until the porridge reaches the desired thickness. If desired, add a pinch of salt to taste and continue stirring for another 2-3 minutes. Once cooked, remove the pot from the heat and let the papa cool slightly before serving.


Papa is typically served warm as a side dish or main course alongside meat, vegetables, or stew. It can also be enjoyed with milk, butter, or sugar for a sweeter flavor. In Lesotho, papa is often served with sautéed greens or meat dishes, providing a filling and nutritious meal.

Papa holds a special place in Basotho cuisine, offering a comforting and nourishing meal that brings people together. Whether enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this traditional maize porridge reflects the rich culinary heritage of Lesotho.