Pap and Livers Recipe

Pap and Livers With Vegetables

Putu pap and livers: Traditional South African comfort food

Invite your friends over for some traditional South African comfort food. Our putu pap and livers recipe is a true family classic with a great dessert to finish.

Pap and Livers Recipe

Pap and Livers With Vegetables

Be it putu pap or maize meal, this simple South African staple is enjoyed for breakfast or dinner meals and it all depends on how you cook it. For breakfast, it’s often cooked with more water and “sloppy” also known as “slap pap”. When made for dinner like a braai or with other meat, it’s made crumblier to the person’s taste. Our putu pap and livers combine some traditional South African delicacies and staples for a great family meal. It’s the South African version of liver and onions.

Putu pap and livers suggestions

Every South African has their way of making “pap” and you want it slightly crumbly and a little bit sticky for the sauce. The bacon adds flavour and more fat to the deliciously browned ox livers which are packed with flavour and iron. The sauce and vegetables just layer more great flavours to the dish.

If you you have leftover maize meal in the pot, you know what comes next. Turn the heat on, add some milk and intentionally burn the bottom of the maize for a browned crust. Then, in a bowl, get some porridge and burned bits, add sugar, a whole lot of butter and milk for one of the real treats of the world.

ALSO READ: Old-fashioned cinnamon dumplings would go perfectly with this meal too as a traditional dessert.

Invite your friends over for some traditional South African comfort food. Our putu pap and livers recipe is a true family classic with a great dessert at the end.

Last updated on 22 November 2022

Putu pap and livers recipe

3 from 3 votes
Recipe by Irene Muller Course: DinnerCuisine: South AfricanDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



Make this hearty and delicious putu pap and livers with stir fried vegetables.


  • For the pap
  • cups boiling water

  • 1 tsp 1 salt

  • 2 cups 2 maize meal

  • 60 g 60 butter

  • For the livers
  • 250 g 250 ox liver, cleaned, sliced thinly and dusted with seasoned flour (maize meal can be used) 

  • 250 g 250 bacon strips, chopped

  • ½ each ½ red or yellow and green pepper, chopped

  • 1 1 red onion, chopped

  • 1 1 brown onion, chopped

  • 1 tbsp 1 dried herbs of your choice

  • 1 tbsp 1 vegetable stock mixed in 1 cup of water

  • butter

  • 4 tbsp 4 oil

  • salt and black pepper

  • ½ cup ½ red wine (optional) 

  • 5 5 spring onions, chopped before serving

  • parsley, chopped before serving

Method – PAP

  • Pour boiling water and salt into the saucepan with a thick base and lid. Bring to the boil. 
  • Add the maize meal to the boiling water and leave it just as it is. Close the lid without stirring.
  • Reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  • Remove lid and stir well with a large kitchen fork.
  • Replace lid, reduce heat even more and steam for about half an hour or until done, but be careful not to burn it.
  • Fluff with a fork or wooden spoon a few times during cooking. Set aside.
  • For the stir-fry vegetables
  • In a large frying pan, add a knob of butter, when melted stir-fry the onions until light golden brown, add the peppers and herbs, sauté the vegetables until cooked but still firm. 
  • For the livers
  • You can let the livers rest overnight in milk after cleaning. Before cooking, season the liver slices well and dust with corn starch, flour or even the maize meal.
  • In a skillet or frying pan add a knob of butter and a little oil, that will help not to burn. It is important that the oil and butter is heated in the pan before food is placed in the pan
  • Fry the bacon pieces until golden brown, remove and set aside in a dish to use later.
  • Add more butter and oil if needed, add the well-coated liver and fry until crispy and golden brown on both sides. Set aside with the bacon.
  • To the same frying pan, you add the stock and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes on medium heat.  When the sauce has reduced a little, add the liver, bacon and red wine, let it simmer on reduced heat for another few minutes. 
  • While this dish is simmering, heat the vegetables in the frying pan again, when heated fold into the Putu pap. Remove the liver from the heat, add the chopped spring onions and parsley just before serving. Season with black pepper. 


  • TIP: Pan-frying is like sautéing except that a little more oil or fat/butter is used and since the process requires more time than sautéing, the food that is cooked does not have to be as thin.

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