How To Cook Ujeqe

How to Cook Ujeqe: A Traditional South African Delight

If you’re a food enthusiast in South Africa, you must have heard about ujeqe – a traditional Xhosa bread that is loved for its soft, fluffy texture and unique flavor. Ujeqe, also known as steamed bread or Xhosa bread, has been a staple dish in Xhosa culture for generations. In this article, we will guide you step by step on how to cook ujeqe in your own kitchen, and provide you with some tips and variations to make it even more delicious. Let’s dive in!


  • 4 cups of self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of warm water


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the self-rising flour, salt, and sugar. Mix well to ensure all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

2. Add the butter to the bowl and rub it into the flour mixture using your fingertips. This will help create a crumbly texture.

3. Slowly pour in the warm water, little by little, and mix the dough using your hands. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough feels too dry, add a little more water; if it feels too sticky, add a bit more flour.

4. Once the dough is well-kneaded, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for about 30 minutes. This resting time will allow the dough to rise and develop its flavor.

How To Cook Ujeqe

5. After the resting period, divide the dough into equal-sized portions. Traditionally, ujeqe is formed into round balls, but you can shape it as desired.

6. Place the dough portions in a steamer, ensuring they have enough room to expand during the cooking process. If you don’t have a steamer, you can use a colander covered tightly with aluminum foil.

7. Fill a pot or steamer with water, making sure the water level is below the bottom of the steamer or colander.

8. Place the steamer or colander over the pot, ensuring it is well-sealed to prevent steam from escaping. Steam the ujeqe on medium heat for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.

9. After the steaming time, carefully remove the ujeqe from the steamer or colander and let them cool slightly before serving.

Tips and Variations:

– To add extra flavor to your ujeqe, you can incorporate grated cheese, chopped herbs, or even raisins into the dough before steaming.

– Ujeqe is traditionally served with stews, curries, or any saucy dish. Its soft, pillowy texture makes it perfect for mopping up delicious sauces.

– For a healthier twist, you can replace some of the self-rising flour with whole wheat flour. This will result in a slightly denser ujeqe, but it will still be incredibly tasty.

– If you don’t have access to a steamer or colander, you can try baking the ujeqe in the oven at 180°C (350°F) for about 30-40 minutes. However, steaming is the traditional and preferred method for cooking ujeqe.

– Leftover ujeqe can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. To reheat, place them in a steamer for a few minutes until warm.

Now that you have mastered the art of cooking ujeqe, it’s time to indulge in this delectable Xhosa bread and impress your family and friends with your newfound culinary skills. Enjoy!