Growing up Amasi (Sour milk) was in our household as a staple food and formed part of a great local “comfort food” called Umphokoqo (meailie meal and sour milk)…
Amasi is a traditional soured or fermented milk product, not only enjoyed as a local food in South Africa but all over Africa. A treat for me still, is when we go home to the Eastern Cape at holiday time, my Dad will make time to go to the local farmers and get fresh milk which he then places in a cupboard to ferment naturally for a few days….the taste is delicious! Obviously, living in a city, we now make use of the Amasi manufactured by large scale dairies and while the taste is not exactly the same as the artisianally made version, it is a good standby and a regular grocery item….you will find this in my fridge as a staple food.
picture showing – Umphokoqo
In working with Pauline on this project I got into the habit of referring to the Amasi as Maas, a name used by the Afrikaans and then English speaking South Africans for this favourite sour milk product…….and on speaking to my sister recently and telling her all about our Maas recipes that we were working on, she said ” What is this Maas that you keep referring too?”………so it is lovely to be able to share with a non-foodie a word that she was not familiar with, but for a very familiar product.
At the moment fermented foods are getting a lot of attention owing to their health benefits…and Amasi fits this bill perfectly…apart from the flavour of this staple food that is so enjoyed by so many…….it is also so rich in nutrients and its fermented qualities bring about good bacteria that helps with keeping us in good health………..
On the cooking side, products like Amasi can be used for a variety of purposes in cooking and baking and we hope to share these with you through a variety of recipes.
What we are hoping, is that everyone who buys Amasi as a staple food product will see new ways of using this wonderful ingredient through the recipes that we post! We invite you to join our MAAS-ter Classes.
For those of you who possibly live in a country that does not have this wonderful fermented milk product…do not despair, you can substitute Amasi with a natural yogurt or buttermilk in the recipes we post.