Thursday, 15 October 2009

Nsima - The staple food of Malawi

The staple food of malawi is Nsima.

Nsima is cooked, ground, white maize flour that is used as the stodge for the majority of malawian meals. The maize can either:

a) 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).

b) 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

Ingredients: Maize flour - twice as much water 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.

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