Discover the Traditional Cuisine of Zambia: Nshima and Ndiwo

Discover the Traditional Cuisine of Zambia: Nshima and Ndiwo

Are you looking to try a new and exciting dish that offers a taste of Zambia’s rich culinary heritage? Look no further than the traditional duo of Nshima and Ndiwo – two staple dishes that form the backbone of Zambian diet. The pair provides a balance of textures and flavors that you’re sure to enjoy. As you embark on this culinary journey, prepare yourself for a truly enjoyable cooking and dining experience.

What is Nshima?

Nshima is a type of maize meal porridge, very similar to polenta or grits, that is the main carbohydrate source in the Zambian diet. It’s typically enjoyed with hands and served alongside a savory relish or stew known as Ndiwo.

Nshima Recipe:


  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups white maize meal (also known as cornmeal)


  1. Start by bringing 3 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Gradually add 1 cup of maize meal to the boiling water while stirring steadily. This helps to prevent lumps from forming.
  3. Reduce the heat and cover the pot, allowing the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Slowly add the remaining 1 cup of maize meal, continuously stirring until the mixture thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the pot.
  5. Keep stirring until the Nshima becomes quite stiff and manageable. If needed, cook it a bit longer to achieve the desired consistency.
  6. Mold it into individual servings with a wet spoon or your hands, dipped in cold water to prevent sticking.

What is Ndiwo?

Ndiwo is the term for a variety of relishes or stews made with vegetables and sometimes meat or fish. It is the perfect accompaniment to Nshima, adding flavor, moisture, and nutrients to the meal.

Basic Vegetable Ndiwo Recipe:


  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups of any preferred leafy greens (such as spinach, kale, or collard greens), cleaned and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the cooking oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and fry until soft and translucent.
  3. Introduce the chopped tomatoes to the pan and cook until the tomatoes break down and become saucy.
  4. Stir in the leafy greens and season with salt and pepper. Cover and let it cook for about 10 minutes, or until the greens are fully cooked but still vibrant in color.
  5. Adjust seasoning to your taste and remove from heat.

Serving Suggestion:

Serve a portion of Nshima with a generous helping of the Ndiwo on the side. Traditionally, Zambians would form a small ball of Nshima with their hands, make a small indentation in it, and use it to scoop up the Ndiwo.

This simple yet nourishing meal is a delightful insight into the Zambian way of life. As you enjoy your own homemade Nshima and Ndiwo, take a moment to reflect on the significance of these dishes in bringing communities together, one meal at a time.

Ready to explore more traditional Zambian recipes? Stay with us for more culinary adventures!

By admin

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