Xhosa Imfino (Wild Spinach) Patty Recipe


Imfino is a leafy, green vegetable that traditionally grows wild. It can be cooked and eaten in much the same way as spinach. In fact it’s often referred to as African spinach. While the traditional Amaxhosa (Xhosa) people of South Africa prepare and enjoy a variety of foods, Imfino and mielie meal (corn meal) are often central ingredients in many of their favourite dishes. Known by many different names in other parts of Africa, wild spinach isn’t as readily available as it once was. Spinach, swiss chard are an ideal substitute. Our recipe is quick and inexpensive and can be served as a snack, starter or as an accompaniment to a main dish.

Recipe by: GOLD Restaurant
Serves: 6 (2 per person)
Difficulty: Easy
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes

Imfino Patties


T = tablespoon
t = teaspoon

  • 300 g spinach, beetroot tops, pumpkin leaves (or any edible greens)
  • 2 cups maize meal
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 fresh chillies, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Oil for shallow frying


  1. Wash spinach in cold water.
  2. Chop roughly and place in a in a lidded pot on a low heat with a little water (sufficient to cover the spinach leaves).
  3. Allow the spinach to reduce in the pot.
  4. Add the salt and chillies.
  5. Stir in the maize meal.
  6. Add water if the mixture cooks dry.
  7. Stir the pot from time to time until the mixture has a thick porridge-like consistency.
  8. Cover the pot with a lid and leave to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. When cooked through, remove from the heat, remove the lid and allow to cool slightly.
  10. Add the chopped onions to the mixture and mould to form 12 balls.
  11. Press balls down gently to make flat patty shapes approximately 1.5 cm thick.
  12. On a high heat, heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the Imfino patties until golden brown and crispy on both sides.
  13. Drain on a paper towel and serve warm.


Take care not to over boil the leafy greens in order to retain their colour.

Best eaten when still warm.

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