It is practically impossible to run out of options of what to eat in Zimbabwe. From worms to chicken stew, peanut butter, and cornbread. The variety of flavors and textures is surprising. As in almost all African countries, Zimbabwe’s cuisine is characterized by its intense and well-defined flavors thanks to the use of spices and herbs in most of the recipes they prepare. This country has a very rich and tasty culinary culture whose dishes stand out, in addition to their flavor, also for the ease of their preparation. The trick is to use high-quality raw materials.
Meat products of all kinds predominate in the diet of the people of Zimbabwe. Chicken, pig, cow, goat, and sheep are used to cook different types of stews which are accompanied by various ingredients of vegetables and cereals. The simplest version of these dishes is preparing them fried or grilled.
Another main ingredient in the diet of the Zimbabwean people is fish. Especially freshwater fish. Usually, they are cooked on the grill and eaten with rice or corn. Sometimes they are also prepared with different types of vegetables, both cooked and raw. Another of the most striking features of the cuisine of this country is the result of a balanced combination of British and traditional Zimbabwean cuisine. Vegetarian travelers will find a variety of sub-tropical products and very high-quality options.
One of the most popular traditional dishes in Zimbabwe is Sadza. It is a star food for the people of the country, essential for them. It is a kind of bread prepared with cornflour. The mixture is molded with the hands to form balls. They can be cooked alone or with peanut butter, one of the most-used products in the region. They are usually accompanied by beef stew and covo. Covo is a type of vegetable which resembles chard and is cooked with onion, garlic, and peanut butter.
Almost every household in Zimbabwe partakes daily of sadza nenyama nemuriwo (pap, meat, and leafy vegetables) during lunch and dinner times. Newborn babies in Zimbabwe, when they are ready to take solid foods are also given Sadza to eat first.
TRADITIONAL PLAIN ZIMBABWEAN SADZA RECIPE
3 heaping cups of “mealie-meal” (cornmeal) plus some more, as needed
1 cup of cold water
24 oz. boiling water
- Have 24 oz. of water boiling on the stove.
- Put the mealie-meal in a large cooking pot.
- Add in 1 cup of cold water, and stir vigorously to make a paste.
- Place the pot on the stove over high heat, and add boiling water while constantly stirring.
- Keep adding and stirring until the entire mixture is boiling. Reduce the heat to just a lively simmer.
- Place the lid on the pot, and gently cook for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes has elapsed, take off the lid, and add more mealie-meal, little by little. This is a crucial step in the preparation. You want to achieve a very thick, pasty-porridge consistency.
- When it’s just about at the consistency you desire, cover the pot again, and allow it to simmer for about another 5 minutes.
- You are all done! Simple and easy, your Zimbabwean sadza is ready to eat.
HOW TO COOK COVO
4-5 Servings ~ 6 minutes
1 onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 bundle Covo
2 tsp salt
Pure vegetable oil for frying
This is one of the traditional ways of preparing leafy green vegetables in Zimbabwe. It’s a quick and easy way to kill two birds with one stone for those days where one does not feel like cooking a separate pot of soup or where there’s a large crowd of people and you can’t exactly prepare soup for all of them. This is done for other vegetables too such as cabbage.
- With your onions (1 medium onion), tomatoes (1 large tomato), and vegetables (1 bundle) chopped, heat oil in a pan.
- Add the onions and saute them for about a minute.
- Add the vegetables and salt (2 tsp).
Stir and cook for about a minute.
- Add the tomatoes and stir. Cover pot, reduce heat, and simmer for about 3 minutes and that’s it.