Zambian Recipes

Mopani caterpillars!  Good source of protein!!

Mopani caterpillars! Good source of protein!!

Enjoy foods you know with a little Zambian zing!  The Zambian diet is primarily a vegetarian diet (meat is too expensive).  They do have occasional beef, chicken, goat, or even roasted rat if they are raising these animals in the villages.  The main staple of their diet is corn or maize.  Most of it is dried, then ground down into “mealie meal”.  Southerners would call this GRITS!  That’s how I know God really loves this Southern girl….He sent me to a country that eats grits!  Seriously, their grits, or nshima, is cooked down into a very stiff porridge that can be eaten with their hands.  It is dipped out of the pot with the fingers, rolled into a ball, then used to pick up whatever they may be eating with it.  Sometimes this may be the small portions of meat, but most often is what they call “relish”, usually cooked cabbage with onion and tomatoes.  They do sometimes have dried fish called “kapenta”.  These are small minnows that are netted out of the river, poured onto the bank, salted, and left to dry in the sun.  They are occasionally turned to help them all dry out.  A handful of this is then cooked with tomatoes and onions, maybe with the cabbage, or even by itself.  You mash the veggies into the ball of nshima and pop it into your mouth.  It is delicious!  Of course, my husband, who never knew what a grit was, is still not convinced corn is meant to be eaten this way.  So, come on!  Step out of your comfort zone and try food you know cooked in a slightly different way.  Nah, you don’t have to try the roasted rat or the caterpillars.

Kapenta, dried minnows, before cooking.

Kapenta, dried minnows, before cooking.

Kapenta, nicely sauteed with onions and tomato.

Kapenta, nicely sauteed with onions and tomato.

Nshema!  Grits that I can eat with my hands!

Nshima! Grits that I can eat with my hands!

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