"Nshima is always eaten with a soup or stew or sauce especially one which is called the Recipe #455142. The combination of nshima and Recipe #455142 is the only thing that most Zambians call a real meal. From The Congo Cookbook."
photo by Girland M. photo by Girland M.
photo by Girland M.
Ready In:


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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • With clean hands, tear bits of nshima off and use them to scoop up the ndiwo.

Questions & Replies

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  1. 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.



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