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Interview with Recipes for Change Chef Ska Mirriam Moteane

03 February 2020

©IFAD/Giuseppe Bizzarri

What drew you to being a chef in the first place?

My love and passion for food inspired me to become a chef. My mother was a good cook and I grew up admiring her cooking and learning from her. I then decided to make working with food my career. 

What makes Lesotho cuisine so unique? 

Our cuisine features simple recipes with only a few local, easily accessible ingredients. These ingredients get their unique flavour – and their nutritional value – from our fresh air and clean water.

Being more food/ingredient aware – what are the benefits for home cooks?

Healthier ingredients and knowledge of what exactly has gone into the food we eat makes home cooking the best. For example, food allergies can be taken into consideration when planning meals. And of course, it also brings families together.

Working with IFAD's Recipes for Change you have looked at the issues facing rural communities – why are these issues important to you?

Poverty reduction is a huge issue and it is very important to me. Projects and initiatives that aim to invigorate the local economy can contribute to alleviating these problems.

What in your opinion are the most pressing issues facing small farmers in Lesotho?

Climate change is already severely affecting small farmers in Lesotho. More needs to be done to help these farmers adapt to and cope with the adverse impacts of climate change.

What's your next big project?

I am excited to be one of the main people working with seboku, a popular red grass that influences the flavour of our Lesotho beef, mutton and lamb. We just had a slow meat festival in Maseru, Lesotho, where people were able to experience seboku meat from head to tail! I had the opportunity to cook with top local hotels and restaurants. It gave us a chance to introduce seboku into the hospitality and retail market – and it was beneficial for the local farmers, too.

Can you share a recipe with us?

Nyekoe (Bean and sorghum stew)

This traditional Lesothan recipe is my personal favourite because it is easy to make and nutrient-rich. As an added bonus, the sorghum is a drought-resistant crop.

 Ingredients

  • 256g (2 cups) sugar beans
  • 256g (2 cups) whole-grain sorghum
  • Water
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Rinse the beans and sorghum in several changes of clean water.
  2. Soak the beans and sorghum in water overnight in order to reduce the cooking time and to let them slowly hydrate. The soaking water must be at least 3 times the amount of dry ingredients.
  3. Rinse the mix once more before adding to a pot.
  4. Add enough water to cover the beans and sorghum and bring to a boil. Once it boils, lower the heat and simmer for about 2 hours, or until they become soft. Keep replenishing water as necessary during cooking.
  5. Once soft, add salt and cooking oil and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Serve hot. This dish can be eaten on its own or as an accompaniment to any meal.