Mealie-meal is a relatively coarse flour (much coarser than cornflour or cornstarch) made from maize which is known as mielies or mealies in southern Africa, from the Portuguesemilho. The Portuguese had originally brought corn from the Americas to Africa.
The raw ingredient of mealie-meal is added to boiling water, the ratio of which produces either porridge or the firmer pap/nshima/sadza. When making porridge milk is sometimes used to produce a creamier dish, the porridge usually has a thick texture and is commonly eaten for breakfast in Southern Africa. The firmer pap is eaten with the hands with meat and gravy dishes as well as vegetable relishes. It is similar to Italian polenta or American grits except that it is usually made of a white rather than a yellow maize variety.