Eating like Africans


It started with the paddle. A gift from Aunt Alison, who wanted to introduce the boys to the missionary expedition experience. We called it a spoon, but, as you can see, this is quite a bit larger than most spoons that you might find around most kitchens. Aunt Alison told the boys that this special paddle is for making Nshima, a traditional Malawian staple food. This dish frankly sounded a lot like good ol’ Southern grits to me, but what do I know?

For the last two or so months, we have looked at the big spoon, which we placed in a conspicuous place atop the piano, until we decided to use it. The boys found “other” uses for the large paddle, but soon got it confiscated for that kind of activity.

Finally, Action A asked me when we were going to try making “that African cereal that Aunt Alison told us about”. Today was the day.

I decided that since you can pretty much find anything on the internet, it wouldn’t be a problem to find a recipe online. I wasn’t disappointed. I found lots. I thought about using a picture from the web of what it should look like, but found this link that will not only show you nsima prepared, but also some beautiful children eating it, and how they make it in Malawi.

The recipe I found was one of many. Apparently, in Malawi, making nsima is kind of like making biscuits–everyone has their particular method and technique, but to make good nsima (or nshima) is the ultimate in culinary expertise.

Here’s what I did:


1 lb corn meal or maize meal
2 qt pot
large, heavy-duty spoon (gotta have the spoon)

Place 2 cups cold water in pot, along with 2 heaping tablespoons of flour/meal.
Add hot tap water to fill pot. Cook 5-10 minutes until mixture resembles porridge. Lower heat and very slowly, slowly, slowly add the rest of the meal, stirring constantly, until mixture is very stiff. Remove from heat.

Use the wooden spoon, rinsed in cold water, to dip out portions of the nsima. If you use metal, the mix will stick.

Eat with traditional “sauce”, gravy, vegetables, or meat (for us, soy curls or tofu :-))

Recipe credit

This recipe took me a long time to get right. I religiously pinched in the corn meal, stirring all the time. When it got quite thick, I still had half of the corn meal left! And by then, I had a very hard time stirring and sprinkling without the pot jumping all over the stove. I have no idea how they do this over an open fire! My pot would be in the ashes and coals! I finally had to have Action A come to hold the pan while I stirred and sprinkled. The stirring also had to be done with both hands near the end. I guess I am just not as strong as the native Malawians. 😦 Whew! I feel like I definitely got an arm workout, just making breakfast! It probably took me a good thirty minutes! I was thinking that the women in Malawi must become more efficient than I was, or they just spend a lot of time making this dish!

When it was all said and done, we dished up portions, and I will admit that I hadn’t realized that I should have made sauce for the top of it, so we just ate it with Earth Balance and salt. Honey would have been yummy, too! But I could totally see making a vegetable sauce to go over it. We occasionally make a recipe that I found one time in an old Adventist Frontiers Magazine that is a tomato and peanut-butter-vegetable based sauce, that, while it may sound weird to our Western palate, is surprisingly good over rice. That will be for another meal. Today, we all enjoyed the nsima as a breakfast dish.

Action A thought it tasted a lot like very thick grits. 🙂 I thought that might be the case!
Little Acorn liked them, and ate them with milk.
Little Ambulance Man snarfed his up.
They are much more substantial than grits, in my opinion. I will probably try them again, using the traditional masa flour, and sauce. But, for now, we were pretty content to eat a little like Malawians for part of a meal.



On Solid Ground ~ Day 1: Facing The Storm

Here’s a great opportunity for all homeschoolers!
Week of Prayer started today!
Watch the videos every day this week!
We are enjoying!


The Adventist Home Educator

Welcome to the first day of  On Solid Ground, our special Homeschool Week of Prayer.   Make plans to join us this week for special time of spiritual encouragement and prayer.   Share this page with your family and friends,  we’re sure they will enjoy this program as well.  Pastor Joe Reeves has a special message for us today: Facing the Storm.  Do you have your Bible at the ready?


Today’s Prayer Focus:    There are  homeschool families watching today that are  facing serious personal storms at this time, from  financial problems to health concerns, or opposition from family and friends, or simply spiritual struggles.  Please take a moment during your prayer time today to remember these families that are in the midst of storms.

Pastor Reeves welcomes your thoughts and questions.  He would love to hear from you!  Leave your questions, prayer requests or greetings in the comment form below.

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