Corn / maize meal is commonly called ‘mielie meal’ in southern Africa, from the Portuguese word for maize, milho. Since its introduction to Africa from South America about 200 years ago, corn / maize has become a mainstay food but its need for water can make it a liability in drought periods. The crops it has supplanted, millet and sorghum, can survive on less water.

“Nshima is Zambia’s staple dish, often served with a spinach or greens relish like the one below. Most relishes are quite substantial, more like a sauce or stew.” Mary Namakando, Lusaka, Zambia.


2 cups / 300 g corn / maize meal




1 onion, sliced

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 pounds / 1 kg rape or spinach, finely chopped

2 - 3 tablespoons oil



Put the meal into a large pan and just cover with water, stirring carefully. Bring the mixture to the boil and then let it simmer for about 5 minutes to make a porridge.

When the mixture begins to come away from the sides of the pan, remove from the heat and serve at once, with a relish such as the one below. People tear off small chunks of the nshima and use them to scoop up relishes, stews and soups.

Rape or spinach relish or sauce: Heat the oil in a large pan and then sauté the onion for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes now and cook for 1 - 2 minutes.

Turn up the heat and put in the spinach; cook it quickly in the hot oil.

Season, and mix well before serving hot with the freshly-made nshima.


Serves 4 - 6.


country : Zambia

course : side dish


source : The World in Your Kitchen : Vegetarian recipes from Africa, Asia and Latin America for Western kitchens with country information and food facts / Troth Wells