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Local chef compiles book to promote traditional meals

“I took it upon myself to write a recipe book of both traditional food and drinks.” She added: “This book is the first of its kind depicting and detailing recipes for preparing local food from potele to mochahlama, nyekoe and many others.” She said the recipes include background history of each dish because there are interesting stories that go along with food. “I think if you get a dish the first question you ask is why the name, why the method of cooking and who used to eat that? It’s meant to document the recipes for future remembrance and I guess it’s also to show off to the world our cultural food.” “Lesotho is surrounded by South Africa and people tend to think we eat the same food but we’ve got our own unique dishes and culture. This book serves to showcase our unique culture as a country.”

She said it took her three years to complete the book. “The process was very long, I went to different villages to get my groundwork done; I got help from women from different communities showing me how to cook the dishes. Surprisingly we had to spend longer time on other dishes because they also had forgotten how to make the dishes.” She said deciding which recipes and methods of cooking to include in the book was a bit challenging because “different villages had their own different ways of cooking so I had to choose the ones I thought were best and correct.”

“I chose the nicest and most popular dishes whose ingredients were easier to find. “The book is designed in a way that the lay person can make the dishes in the comfort of their kitchens. It is not a chef’s book,” she said. Moteane said the book serves to preserve culture. “I am hoping the book will resuscitate those wonderful dishes Basotho used to eat in the past. I am hoping to get massive support from local food industry so that local cuisine can be preserved.” “The printing of the book was funded by Metropolitan Lesotho and Pick’n Pay Maseru and many others.”

Moteane said Her Majesty Queen Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso who wrote the foreword of the book would be officiating at the launch of the book on Tuesday. “She was very excited about the project, she encouraged me and she blessed it, which is an honour.” “The launch will be hosted by Mankabelane Communication. The book is set to be launched on July 10 at Lehakoe.”

Moteane said there are over a hundred recipes and choosing which ones to include was also challenging. “I am going to have to write a second and third book to accommodate all of them.” Ska Mirriam Moteane is an award-winning entrepreneur, founder and managing director of Ska’s Kitchen Culinary Studio. Moteane has worked for Woolworths Foods as a product development specialist. She has also worked for Oprah Winfrey as a project manager in catering for her girls’ academy school in Johannesburg. She has cooked for the likes of Mariam Makeba, Yvonne Chaka-Chaka, Tito Mboweni and Their Majesties to mention but a few.

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