Amasi (3035444146).jpg
Amasi in a supermarket fridge
Nutritional value per 100g
5 g
Sugars0 g
Dietary fiber0 g
4.4 g
Saturated2.7 g
3.7 g
47 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Cholesterol9 mg
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

Amasi (in Ndebele, Zulu and Xhosa), maas (in Afrikaans), or mafi (in Sesotho), is a fermented milk product that is similar to cottage cheese or plain yogurt. It is a popular snack in South Africa and Lesotho.


Amasi is traditionally prepared by storing unpasteurised cow's milk in a calabash container (Xhosa: iselwa Zulu: igula) or hide sack to allow it to ferment.[1] ngokwazi kwami , amasi is milked from the cow, and is put in a skin bag or bucket, where it ferments and acquires a sharp acid taste.[2]The fermenting milk develops a watery substance called umlaza; the remainder is amasi. This thick liquid[clarification needed] is mostly poured over mealie meal porridge called pap. (Xhosa: umphokoqo),[3] It is traditionally served in a clay pot and it can also be drunk. [1] Amasi is also produced commercially using Lactococcus lactis, along with subspecies of L. lactis.[citation needed]

In culture


Traditionally, Zulus believe that amasi makes a man strong, healthy, and desired. During "taboos", such as periods during menstruation or when a person has been in contact with death, the affected person must abstain from amasi. Milk is hardly ever drunk fresh, but it is sometimes used to thin amasi which is deemed too thick to be used.[4]

South Africa

Nelson Mandela mentions how he cautiously left a friends's apartment (his hiding place in a "white" area when he was wanted by the apartheid government) after he overheard two Zulu workers comment that it was strange to see milk on the window sill (left out to ferment) because whites seldom drank amasi.[5]

Amasi is also popular in South African Indian cuisine where it is used similarly to curd.


In the Xhosa culture, a bride is served amasi and a piece of meat, which is called uTsiki, as a sign of being welcomed into her new family.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b "SA Culture – Ukdula". National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa. Retrieved 18 January 2007.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "AMASI".
  3. ^ "Umphokoqo - crumbly mealie pap with amasi | Food & Home Entertaining". Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  4. ^ Megan Russell; Tamlin Armstrong; Sarah Dawson. "Diet [of the Zulu people]". Thinkquest. Archived from the original on 2 January 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2007.
  5. ^ Mandela, Nelson (1994). Long Walk to Freedom. Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-87496-5.