Zimbabwe Traditional Food Ingredients

Cooking in modern Zimbabwe kitchen is one of the most fun things you should experience. We will cover Zimbabwean traditional food ingredients people use to make some authentic African food recipes. Discover their common vegetables here and be sure to try some! The rich cultural diversity and multi-ethnical groups scattered across Zimbabwe inherited and adopted traditional food recipes and ingredients from various local cultures. Zimbabwe traditional food recipes depend on locally sourced Zimbabwe products. Most people buy it from food markets such as Mbare Musika in Harare. However, most people from rural areas depend on food they grow in their backyard. 

 We will cover  Zimbabwean traditional food ingredients people use for recipes.

food in Zimbabwe history has evolved over the years through the mixing and mingling of cultures. Certainly, vegetarians can expect diversity there.

Sadza: A Beloved Staple

Sadza is undoubtedly Zimbabwe’s popular staple carbohydrate. It is prepared from mealie-meal and water: Mealie-meal is a by-product of maize (corn).  However, Tonga and Zambia tribes in Zimbabwe prefer sadza made from ground millet. Meanwhile, less traditional families prefer processed mealie-meal known as pearlanta. Trust the elders on this, wholesome, minimally processed food is best. Evident in the image below, millet Sadza is a common Zimbabwe traditional food.

Sadza is undoubtedly popular staple carbohydrate. Authentic African food example.
Photo credit: Beauty04

To Process Excessively or Not?

Refined corn meal is sold under the brand name Pearlanta. The refined cornmeal popularized as Pearlanta has a white color since the maize husk is removed. Corn is whitened during processing. Food in Zimbabwe is simply balanced and locals prefer the nutritional benefits that mealie (corn) meal provides. Did you know ground millet has a grayish color? The difference between refined versus unrefined corn is similar to brown rice versus refined white rice.

Refined corn meal is sold under the brand name Pearlanta. Authentic African food example.

Coincidentally, if you enter any Zimbabwean home or kitchen, you won’t miss a packet of mealie meal.

Delish Zimbabwe traditional food products that go well with sadza are: Rape (green vegetables shown in picture), peanut butter, soya mince( also known as chunks in Matabeleland), or sugar beans.

Zimbabwe Traditional food-Samp

Samp is dried corn kernels, which is also called Amagqutshu in Zimbabwe. The Ndebele people who reside in Southwest of Zimbabwe love this traditional food. The word Samp is synonymous with corn; the resulting dish can look like chopped maize.

For breakfast and lunch, Zimbabwean mothers cook Samp for their families as the dish is both nourishing and easy to prepare. When prepared, the starchy residue becomes a base of the sauce, to which seasoning or sugar can be added for more flavor. Breakfast or dinner? You decide.

Samp is dried corn kernels, which is also called Amagqutshu. Authentic African food recipe.
Photo credit: Answers Africa

Groundnuts(peanuts), a common traditional product, complement the nutritional value of Samp. It gives it an earthy flavor which is consistent with food in Zimbabwe. Shona mothers prefer adding Nyemba (small beans) to the Samp to make another popular dish called Mutakura. Both dishes are flavorful and nutritious. Moreover, the ingredients are readily available and affordable. Cha-Ching!

Soya mince

Soya mince is soy protein popularly known as chunks in Zimbabwe. This is one of the best protein sources in Zimbabwe food for many individuals, but it has not reached popularity among authentic African food. Chunks (aka soy protein) are fairly affordable, when fried in oil, it releases a rich aroma. Did you know plant-based or Vegetarian families eat chunks with Sadza every other day? 

Soya mince is  soy protein popularly known as chunks. To explore what authentic African food is there.
Soy Plant-protein

As you can tell, Zimbabwean food is fairly hearty and inviting. Ndebele people from Matabeleland prefer boiling Soya mince in salted water before adding oil and tomatoes. On the other hand, people from Mashonaland prefer adding green leafy vegetables such as Covo and Rape (green vegetables).

Food in Zimbabwe-Sugar beans

You can’t beat the taste of sugar beans with green shallots and tomatoes, Zimbabwe traditional food. Note, Sugar beans is the common name for cranberry beans, there is no sugar is added. Sugar beans are quite flavorful and you bet it is also hearty and nutritious. Additionally, the beans are rich in protein and fiber. A common Zimbabwean food recipe many locals love is sugar beans in curry sauce. The only ingredients you will need for this Zimbabwean recipe are sugar beans, water for boiling, cooking oil, shallots, and tomatoes. Easy!

In Summary

When considering Zimbabwe traditional food common Zimbabwean staple ingredients to have in your pantry in order to make authentic Zimbabwean food are:

  • Corn = ground(mealie meal), dried kernels
  • Ground Millet
  • Rape (green vegetables), Covo
  • Soy Protein(aka Soya chunks)
  • Beans
  • Groundnuts (peanuts)
  • Curry

Stay tuned for more of this series of local Zimbabwe products used in their authentic African food . Are there any Zimbabweans reading this article? Comment below if we missed something. Curious about a no-animal-meat food lifestyle? peep instagram to see what I eat live😊.

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