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Jeqe Recipe

May 20, 2012

Sliced Jeqe

Jeqe (uJeqe) is a traditional South African dish, which can be best described as "steamed bread." I got this recipe by carefully observing as a woman prepared the dish while I was visiting a Zulu family in Umlazi township. Few Zulu women follow written recipes, so these measurements are the best approximations I could make. Don't worry though... they are spot on. I've made this many times for potlucks and parties. It's always a winner.

The time to prepare is usually around 3 hours for me (including rise time and cooking) but it's totally worth it.

Jeqe Recipe

Lets start with the ingredients. Add the following to a large mixing bowl:

  • 7 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 packet yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • enough water that the mixture becomes a soft dough when kneaded

Bowl of Ingredients

Kneed it very well, until you have a soft (kind of sticky) mass of dough. Let it rise (for up to an hour), pound it down, and let it rise again.

To cook it, we'll be making a low-tech double boiler. Find a strong, clean, plastic bag without holes in it, like a grocery bag. Put a spoonful of cooking oil in the bag and spread it around (so the dough doesn't stick to the inside of the bag).

Plastic Bag

Then carefully put the risen dough into the bag. Put the bag into a large stovetop pot (ours is 8 qt.) with water in it. If well risen, the bag of dough should float. You can loosely tie or fold over the open top of the bag, but don't seal it. You want the steam to be able to enter into the bag and cook the dough.

Bag of Dough

Finally, bring the water to a boil and put the lid on the pot. Let the steam cook the bread for at least an hour before removing.

Jeqe, Cooking

Jeqe (uJeqe)

Sliced Jeqe

Slice and eat!

The traditional way to eat it is to make up some beef or chicken curry and put it on the jeqe. Otherwise, eat it like you would bread. I think it tastes great plain.

If this recipe works out for you, let me know by leaving your feedback in the comments. Hambani Kahle!

By the way, the plastic bag won't melt. It's high-density-polyethelyne and doesn't melt below 250 Fahrenheit (120 C). The hottest your water will ever get is 212 F and that's if you're at sea level. At higher elevations than your water boils at lower temperatures so you're even more safe. If it makes you feel better, you can also cook the dough in any bowl (usually hard plastic) floating in the boiling water. Both methods are used in Zulu homes.

Comments

I won't forget that day the Khoza's taught us and when we brought it back they thought we added "something" to make it taste better. Good times. :)

This recipe is the exact one I picked up at the Khozas. It's surprising that it can be so good, even though it's using such simple ingredients.

Thank you! I will use this recipe. And thanks for the note about the plastic bag. I was worried about that.

will the plastic give off chemicals at them temps?

Maybe THAT'S the "something extra!"

Just kidding! I can only speak from experience of having made and eaten it many times as a missionary. It's a pretty common dish, and I've never seen any ill effects on myself or anybody I've met.

As I mentioned, if it concerns anybody, go ahead and use a plastic bowl, or an actual double boiler for that matter. I once made it in a glass Pyrex dish. What you use doesn't matter as long as you allow the steam to do it's magic.

You shall have many blessings sent you way for your generous dole to mankind... :-)

Thank you ill be cooking ujeqa for the first time this xmas using your easy to fellow recipe for my mother inlaw "wish me luck"

Good Luck!

My niece love Jeqe and she helps also with making it, she is only 7. Esp she will ask to punch the dough (kneading)

Thnx a lot Bryan, tried it and it ws a killer! My hubby and daughter loved and so did I! It came out prefect!

Thanks a lot for the recipe.It boosted my confidence in making jeqe. Jeqe has become part my Sunday menu.Thanks again.

7 cups of flour? Does this recipe make a huge loaf of steam bread?

Yes! It makes a great big loaf. Perfect if you have a big family or several friends visiting.

Dude you made it so simple, Mom always taught me but she told me long stories of how good her grandmother used to make it until I lost track, thanks for the recipe I KILLED IT!

I made this for sister missionaries tonight sooo good. Thx for posting

This was so good...thanks for the recipe

You may add more flour depending on the size of the people. As long as you can perfectly measure the sugar-salt level. I never use measurements. LOL. Its all in the eye. the same recipe can be used for dumpling. Add the raw mixture of Jeqe (without plastic) to either a chicken gravy or beef and let it steam.

Tried it yesterday, 1 word! Perfection

Thank you for the easy jeqe recipe it taste and smells good.

n ive been stressing cz at home they use an enamel bowl i didnt know about the plastic until now thank u kindly

Thanks for the easy recipe. I am married into a zulu family and ujeqe is a staple for them. I am challenged when it comes to making ujeqe, tried it once and it didnt come out right. This is my second attempt and i followed your recipe. It is in the pot as i am typing this but must say i feel confident that it will taste perfect. This may be the beginning of ujeqe becoming a staple in my house as well. I will come back with my feedback after my family have tasted it. I made beef stew to eat it with!

This recipe is a winner. My kids did not even want to have my beef stew with it. The loved it on its own. Thanks again.

I'm glad it turned out well for you Helen!

So delicious

The International Hotel School, Durban Campus, uses the exact same recipe! word for word. Lol. By chance I went on line to find a similar recipe to find out the exact amount of water to use to make a soft "kind of sticky" mass of dough - or at least a pic of how sticky it should be(I tend to be pedantic). Could you please insert a photo of this sticky mass of dough?

Hello, I have always been frustrated with myself for not being able to make ujeqe. I followed your recipe to the T and well my brothers thought I was "thee man". It was my first time just last week and it was perfect. Thank you so much. I'm about to make one again :-) Thanks again and God bless.

We spent time in Kwa Zulu Natal and had Jeqe a couple of times made by our friends. I think it's as good or better than bread back home.

how and where do you keep the left overs?

I love your easy recipe coz i did Jeqe yesterday & it was perfect. Thanks once again

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