Among other many things like language, totems, beliefs, food is also another important part of the Zimbabwean culture. This can be confirmed by a Shona proverb which goes “Ukama igasva hunozadziswa nekudya”
The staple food
Sadza is the Zimbabwean staple food. Mealie meal is used to prepare sadza. Even though maize is the most common grain to make mealie meal, there are other grains such as rapoko/finger millet (zviyo), bulrush millet (mhunga), mapfunde (pearl millet), etc.
Breakfast and Lunch
Breakfast and lunch are not really seperable in the Zimbabwean culture. Whats usually eaten for breakfast can be eaten for lunch. Most people have breakfast and lunch at the same time.
- Porridge (Bota) – A thick breakfast cereal prepared by mealie meal and usually flavoured with peanut butter (dovi), baobab (mawuyu), sour porrridge (maheu akavira).
- Mbambaira (Sweet Potatoes)
- Elephant ear roots (madumbe)
- Mutakura Can be prepared from round nuts (nyimo), cow peas (nyemba), peanuts/groundnuts (wenzungu)
- Pumpkins (Manhanga)
- Squashes (Mapudzi)
- Nhopi – a traditional porridge made from pumpkins and flavoured with peanut butter.
- Samp (Mashazhare/Man’uchu)
- Boiled Maize (Mangai)
- Boiled green maize cobs (Chibage chinyoro)
- Homemade Bread (Chimodho and jega mudhuri)
- Rupiza – crushed and roasted cowpeas paste
Zimbabweans have a rich source of indigenous vegetables from weeds. The list of indigenous veggies include
- Indian Kale (Tsunga/Zifodya)
- Chembere dzagumanha
- Black Jack leaves (mutsine)
- Mushroom (hohwa) There are different types of mushroom namely nhedzi, huvha, bandapakukutu (hunotanga kumera), huvhe, ruzutwe, dakutaku, nzeve, tsvuke-tsvuke, nyabururu, dindindi or matindindi, chihombiro, firifiti, nyabururu
- Spider flower (Nyevhe)
- Pig weed (Mowa) please not that a spider flower (nyevhe) and mowa combination gives a good taste of vegetables
- Boabab leaves (Muuyu)
- Pumpkin leaves (Muboora)
- Okra (Derere) There are different types of okra. Derere rechipudzi. Derere reruredzo (kubva pamadzinda efeso)
- Devil’s horsewhip (Kasita)
- Poor man’s spinach (Bonongwe)
- Babiana (Hwena)
- False foxgloves (Munhuwenhuwe)
- Fat hen (Mubvunzandadya)
- Silver spinach (Mundawarara)
- Spindle pod (Musemwasemwa)
- Spiny Cucumber (Mugaka)
- Gallant Soldier (Teketera)
- Sweet potato leaves (Mumbambaira)
- Gourd/ Squash Leaves (Mupudzi)
- Cassava leaves (Mufarinya)
- Snow thistle (Rurimi rwemombe)
All these vegetables are usually firstly boiled with water and then oil, but peanut is also a healthy and tastier alternative to oil. Almost all these vegetables can also be boiled and dried in the sun for later use.
- Beef (Cow meat)
Not an everyday meal, especially for the poor families. A cow is a symbol of wealth, in fact it is wealth itself, therefore will not be klilled for no special or valid reason. They are usually killed in celebration of graduations and weddings. Cows are also usually killed at funerals(rufu) and memorials(manyaradzo).
For special events such as when a child comes back home, or when there is a visitor at home. It can also be killed to celebrate a child’s achievement such as obtaining good grades in school.
- Goat meat
Goats are killed even when not on special occasions to the rich but to the poor they are reserved for special occassions just as the cows.
In Zimbabwe it is very common to dry meat on the sun for later use. The dried meat is known as chimukuyu and is very tasty. Dried meat can also be cooked in peanut butter instead of oil.
Milk is also an important part of Zimbabwean food. Cows and goats produce milk. Fresh milk is added to tea. Sour milk and mutuvi can be drank with sadza as relish or as desert after eating sadza.
And here is what we have for desert
- Maheu thick drink made from mealie meal and are usually made sour
- Roasted Nuts (Mutetenerwa wenzungu)
- Roasted pumpkin seeds (Mutetenerwa wemhonzi dzemanhanga)
- Maputi – chibage chakaoma chinongoiswa mugango wkotokanga
- Mhandire – chibage chekugocha chinenge chaoma, chinenge changosara munya chisisina mukaka
- Honey (Uchi)
- Matohwe(snot apple)
- Mawuyu (baobab fruits)
- Mazhanje/mashuku(sugar plum)
- Zvido (looks much like hwakwa but is too juicy and fleshy than hwakwa)
- Mapfura (popularly known as marula-tswana)
Herbal Tea and Coffee
- Zumbani makes herbal tea
- Snort Apple (Mutohwe) – makes coffee
- Mhashu mapfunde
- Mugoti mugoti
- Tsumwatsumwa (Madhumbuhla)
Food from water