Celebrating Local Ingredients: Amasi Flatbreads

Amasi (in Zulu and Xhosa), Maas (in Afrikaans), or Mafi (in Sesotho), call it what you will, this indigenous fermented milk is one of the most famous and sought-after traditional products in South Africa.

Similar to cottage cheese or plain yogurt, it is most commonly enjoyed with pap (ground maize meal) or drunk straight up. Traditionally, the raw cow’s milk is prepared in a calabash or cowskin bag where is it fermented over a few days. Thanks to modern developments we got ours from our local grocery supplier.

Our clever team in the kitchen has taken this indigenous product and modernized it while giving it a special Tanda Tula twist. If you happen to live in a country that does not have this marvelous fermented milk you can use natural yogurt or buttermilk instead for these fire-side flat breads.

Footnote: Did you know that Mandela is deeply tied to Amasi mythologies? It was one of his most favourite foods, so much so that during his incarceration he wrote the following to his wife: 

How I long for amasi, thick and sour! You know darling there is one respect in which I dwarf all my contemporaries or at least about which I can confidently claim to be second to none – healthy appetite.   

Amasi flatbreads (yields about 10) 

  • 1 cup Amasi
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Combine the flour, Amasi and baking powder in a bowl and mix until a dough starts to come together.
  2. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead for about 10 minutes until soft and silky. 
  3. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and place aside in a warm place until doubled in size.
  4. Divide into 10 balls and roll out the dough into oval discs on a lightly floured surface. 
  5. Bake over the fire for 6- 10 minutes until puffed and slightly charred on the surface. 
  6. Serve hot off the fire, do not let them stand around and get cold.

Hand strained Amasi curds 

  • 2 cups Amasi
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 TBS crème fraiche
  1. In a saucepan, bring the Amasi to a gentle boil.
  2. Once the Amasi starts to separate, set the pot aside to rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain the curds through a fine sieve. 
  4. Once cooled, add the curds to a blender and blend with remaining ingredients, until smooth and creamy. Season to taste.
  5. Serve at room temperature with the breads.