A staple from Zambia


  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 2 to 3 cups corn meal 


  • Boil 2 cups water in a saucepan. 
  • Make a paste, mixing one cup of the meal with one cup of cold water. Add the paste to boiling water.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon until thickened like porridge. Cover the saucepan and simmer for about 15 minutes. 
  • Lower the heat a little. Remove the lid and gradually add remaining corn meal, stirring constantly and flattening any lumps that may form. 
  • Continue to add meal and stir until nsima thickens to the desired consistency (some people like it thin, and others prefer it thick). 
  • Cover and reduce heat to very low. Cook about 5 more minutes minutes to allow further cooking. 
  • Stir the nsima once again and serve in a slightly wet serving dish (to prevent sticking). 
  • Cover to keep warm. Serve with meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables.


This dish is a staple food in Zambia and many other African countries. Staples are foods that are eaten regularly, often daily or with every meal. In Africa, nsima is usually eaten alongside a soup or sauce.

Search #staplefood to explore other daily dishes around the globe.

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