Zambia’s National staple is cornmeal/polenta, they have quite a number of recipes that use this staple as a base, the most popular, however, is Nshima, a dish made from boiling water and finely ground cornmeal.

So if you like to try new things like I do, whip up your cooking tools and let’s get to work!


Cooking Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 1.2 kg maize meal or cornmeal



Ingredients: Tomato gravy & okra*                                                                                            

400 g of beef, cut into chunks                                                                                                           

450g fresh baby okra, washed, dried, stem ends trimmed very close to the top nshima-Zambian-Recipe.jpg4           

1/4 cup finely chopped onion                                                                                            

1 clove garlic, finely minced                                                                                              

2 medium tomatoes, peeled, diced                                                                                  

Dash salt and pepper

*You should make the gravy before the nshima so it is piping hot when served.


Cooking Method: Nshima

Add the water to a large pot and begin to boil over high heat.

After a few minutes (when the water is just warm) begin to add about half the cornmeal to the water one tablespoon at a time. Make sure that you stir continuously with a hefty wooden spoon as you add the cornmeal.

Continue to cook and stir as the mixture begins to boil and bubble. Reduce the heat to medium at this point and cook for about 5 more minutes.

Now add the remaining cornmeal, sprinkling it over the top a tablespoon at a time. Make sure you keep stirring otherwise you will get lumps. In the end, the Nshima should be very thick and smooth. (Add more cornmeal if you don’t have enough).

Once you have attained the desired consistency turn off the heat, cover the pot and allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.

Traditionally, nshima is served with a soup, stew, or sauce (which is termed ndiwo) and a Zambian meal is not deemed complete unless it comprises nshima and ndiwo.


Cooking Method: Tomato Gravy & Okra

Boil the beef with 2 cubes of seasoning and some salt. once it is soft, separate the beef from the stock.

Heat the olive oil in the saucepan. When hot, add the chopped onion; sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes. Add in some beef stock.

Add the diced tomatoes and stir together until the mixture boils, add in the okra, allow to soften. Then add in previously boiled beef.

Turn down to a simmer, add salt and dry pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes longer. To serve spoon about a few tablespoons of sauce into a serving dish and serve with the Nshima.


For more info on gravy check out:

Feel free to email us at [email protected] on what you think or share your creative cooking food ideas.

Recipe by

Udochi Anyogu
Yuddie is a lover of life, travel and food. She sources information on recipes from around Africa and shares it with the world.
Udochi Anyogu
Udochi Anyogu

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