READY IN: 15mins
Recipe by Annacia

Nshima is always eaten with a soup or stew or sauce especially one which is called the Ifisashi. The combination of nshima and Ifisashi is the only thing that most Zambians call a real meal. From The Congo Cookbook.

Top Review by Elmotoo

aka polenta ;) the recipe adjuster was weird... I moved it down to 2 servings & it said 2c cornmeal & 8c water but the directions say 2.5c water per cup of water. I went with the 2.5c water. I really didn't think all the cornmeal would be absorbed but I did as I was told (!) and added it little by little (which really is the only way to prevent a gloppy mess) and it DID absorb it all! I went a bit heavy on the salt so it wouldn't be too bland & served it under Sackville's recipe#170705 which worked really well. Even The Picky One enjoyed her dinner. She had some of this with butter for breakfast today. :) Thanks, A! Made for I've saved all these recipes & African Tag 3/12.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 4 cups cornmeal (one cup per serving is sufficient)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
  • 16 cups water (more as or if as needed)


  1. Pour cold water (two and 1/2 cups for each cup of cornmeal) into a large pot. Over high heat, begin to bring to a boil.
  2. After a few minutes, when the water is warm, slowly add the about half the cornmeal to the water one spoonful at a time, stirring continuously with a sturdy wooden spoon. Continue cooking (and stirring) until the mixture begins to boil and bubble. Reduce heat to medium and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Cooking the mixture over medium heat, add the remaining cornmeal, as before, sprinkling it spoonful by spoonful as you continue to stir. It is essential to keep stirring -- if making a large quantity, it may take one person to hold the pot and another to use two hands to stir.
  4. The nshima should be very thick (no liquid remaining) and smooth (no lumps). It may reach this point before all of the remaining cornmeal is added to the pot -- or it may be necessary to add even more cornmeal than this recipe indicates.
  5. Once the desired consistency is reached, turn off heat, cover the pot, and allow the nshima to stand for a few minutes before serving. Serve nshima immediately, hot, with the ndiwo of your choice.
  6. With clean hands, tear bits of nshima off and use them to scoop up the ndiwo.

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a