A smoother motoho!

A smoother motoho!

ROMA – THE new version of Maritšoana Motoho is the smoothest (o nepotsoe e le ka ’nete).
This comes after the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Innovation Hub-made motoho (sour porridge) got a boost from a “new never-seen-before smoothening technology.”

“The smoothening process is not that different from what our grandmas used in the past, but we have turned that good old process into a machine,” said ’Marethabile Jane, who is the manager at Maritšoana.
The result is the motoho that is so smooth, Maseru is getting crazy about it.
“Of course Maritšoana was already a refreshing product to start with,” said one excited customer.

“Now that it is smoothened, it has shot to the roof.”
Well, by now you are used to several variants of motoho in the market claiming to be smoothened (motoho o nepotsoeng).
But those who are lucky enough to have experienced the real smoothened motoho at home know that such claims are not among the truest statements ever said.

“Some of our well-meaning competitors think that just because they are using some fine flour, it means their motoho is smoothened,” Jane said.
“It is not that simple.”
Let’s recall what our grandmas used to do.
They would patiently take an extremely hard stone like basalt (moralla) or dolerite (semphuroane), chisel it into two millstones, one large and another small, such that one can roll over the other.

The smaller one (tšiloana) was used to grind the flour paste whilst rolling over the larger one.
In a slow, painful process driven by human hands, a product was created in which after fermentation and cooking, you would be forgiven for drinking yourself to death.
“That real old secret in the making of motoho was the smoothening process,” she said.

“For some reason, when it is that smooth, motoho tastes heavenly.”
Given the delicacy created by that smoothening process and how much Basotho worship the smoothened version, it is no wonder then that a number of local motoho variants have claimed the smoothening process in their product.
Well such claims may be running parallel to the truth.
Why?

The first reason is that fact-checking the claims need no rocket-science.
Just drink such a variant.
Second, while it is true that our grandpas mastered this technology a long-time ago, smoothening at a commercial scale is no walk in the park.
In our experience, no one is even trying yet.
We may be wrong.

In Jane’s own words, “you simply cannot use the same old extremely slow ways of smoothening and drive sales at the same time,” hence a need for rethinking the technology.
For that reason, the Maritšoana team has adopted a technology that uses the same concept our grandmas used and trusted but which is quicker.
“Yes we still have two stones and the sorghum paste getting ground in between them but we are no longer using our hands to do it.”
“We use the machine.”

The result is the kind of motoho like no other in the market.
“If you think about it, this is nothing short of a revolution. We are revolutionising this tried-and-tested beverage which Basotho have loved and celebrated for years. We are taking it to another level.”
Yes there are a few more reasons to declare Maritšoana exceptional.
You will recall it pioneered the use of cultures for fermentation in commercial production of this beverage.

Before Maritšoana, the commercial variants were using citric acid to give motoho a sour taste.
You couldn’t miss the fake of it all.
That is now gone.
Maritšoana has also handled the common problem of motoho’s collapsing and separating even before reaching the expiry date.
“Many motoho brands have come and gone and we think we know why,” she said.

“Motoho production looks easy to the uninitiated and the naive. However, those who have ever tried to produce it will tell you that it’s one of the most challenging beverages to produce.”
It is not a surprise then that there is no single company yet which is producing motoho at a truly large scale in Lesotho.
“We have set up a goal to be that company. We want to be the hard-to-beat brand in this area and we think we are on the right path as long as we are powered by innovation,” she said.

Own Correspondent

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