Nsima: The staple food of Malawi
The staple food of malawi is Nsima (pronounced en-see-ma) .
Nsima is cooked, ground white maize flour that is used as the stodge for the majority of malawian meals.
The maize can either:
- be ground by the family who take the dry maize kernels (sweetcorn to you and I) and then pound it with a huge pestle and mortar (most likely made of wood)
- be bought from a shop where a more industrial process has mass produced the flour
A cheaper version is a brown maize flour which is rougher in texture (but in my opinion more flavoursome!)
Nsima preparation: How to cook Nsima
For this Nsima recipe, you need the following ingredients:
Water (around twice as much in volume as maize flour)
- Boil a kettle of water
- Whisk flour and water into a paste (about half a cup of flour, with a similar amount of water). You make the paste to avoid the nsima becoming lumpy.
- Stir the paste into a pot of simmering water, mixing constantly. The aim is to make a very runny porridge.
- Simmer (just below boiling) for 20-30 minutes and your nsima will thicken to the desired consistency.
- At this stage, add the rest of your flour while mixing vigorously with a heavy duty wooden spoon. Once you have added all the flour, keep stirring for about 5 minutes with the heat still on
- Once the Nsima has formed a firm paste, allow it to steam with a lid on for a further 10 minutes on a very low heat
- Finally, get a bowl with water, and use a saucer or big spoon out of the pan into 'thick pancakes' which you can either dish onto plates or pile onto a serving dish for people to help themselves. Remember to dip the spoon or saucer in the water between each nsima cake to ensure they don't stick.