Recipes from Malawi: Nsima


So I know I've made something like this before, in fact I distinctly recall the looks on my kids' faces when they realized I expected them to eat it. And I can also recall a box of it sitting in my kitchen cabinet for like, years, because I kept thinking that I'd need it for another blog night. And then I'm pretty sure I recall pitching it because I realized that I probably should try hard not to need it for another blog night, because that's how much everyone hated it.

Of course, I can't find any reference to it in any of my old posts, so it must have had some other name. Anyway, here we are again, and yes I'm making this very similar (though not exactly the same) stuff because I really just didn't feel that the meal would be authentic without it.

So the good news is, there's really nothing simpler to cook than this stuff. It's just cornmeal, water and butter. Here's how to do it:

Heat the water until it's just lukewarm. Then add a little bit of the cornmeal and stir until any lumps dissolve.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Sprinkle the rest of the cornmeal over the simmering water, stirring constantly so it doesn't get lumpy. It's going to get pretty thick, so keep stirring until it's smooth and has an almost dough-like consistency. Add the butter and stir it in.


So I actually did not hate this stuff as much as I remember hating it. The main dish had a lot of liquid in it, so it was really just a stand-in for rice. It was really good at mopping up all the juices. Of course, my kids took one look at it and didn't want anything to do with it, but really, that was to be expected. It was quite heavy so I didn't eat all of it, but the butter made it somewhat less than bland, and as I said, it was great at mopping up the liquidy part of the chicken curry.

Here's the complete recipe:



Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken, skin on
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 to 5 tbsp oil
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 5 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp curry
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the water until it's just lukewarm. Then add a little bit of the cornmeal and stir until any lumps dissolve.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Sprinkle the rest of the cornmeal over the simmering water, stirring constantly so it doesn't get lumpy. It's going to get pretty thick, so keep stirring until it's smooth and has an almost dough-like consistency. Add the butter and stir it in.



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