How can I have a blog that involves all of our homemade recipes, and not include an authentic African recipe? After all, I grew up in southern Africa and my favorite meals where eating traditional foods my friends and family made.
This is a recipe that my kids ask for every other week at least. I get, “We haven’t had sudza in so long!!” They love it and so do I. My husband loves it to, though we differ in HOW he’s supposed to eat it. In Zimbabwe and traditionally, you do not eat sudza with utensils, but use your hands to form a type of scoop to dip into your sauce. Coming from a man who doesn’t even eat chicken wings with his fingers, I guess I can’t complain, but he always uses a fork and spoon. When we were first married I was appalled, ha ha. Now, I’ll occasionally tease him a little.
What is sudza?
Sudza is actually cooked slightly different all over Africa as far as I’ve learned, and called multiple names. When I lived in Kenya I learned that they called it ugali, but it was cooked differently so that its texture was not as smooth – not complaining, just sayin’ 😉
It is made from cornmeal.
A lot of people know what Southern Grits is. Well, cook that a bit thicker and you’ve got sudza. A number of people from Europe eat the Romanian Polenta, a dish made with boiled cornmeal that often has cheese added (So good!). It’s like porridge, only cooked thicker so that it sets up and can be molded in the hand.
The Side Dish
You can cook a lot of things to go with sudza. Traditionally we would often have rape, or a type of spinach, steamed and mixed with salt and possibly some diced tomatoes. My favorite dish though is curried tomatoes and chicken. Zimbabwe was colonized by the British, though they have had independence for over 30 years. There has been quite a mixture of influence on the traditional eating habits. There are a number of people from India and the middle east who have brought their fabulous spices. I grew up eating this curried chicken and tomatoes with sudza and crave it often! I hope you enjoy it!
An Authentic African Recipe
- 3 cups corn meal
- 8 cups water
- 3 lb chicken thighs, breast, or leftovers (anything goes)
- 2 - 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 tsp curry powder
- Bring water to a boil and whisk in 2 cups of cornmeal (plain, no baking powder added) slowly. Whisk constantly to avoid clumps.
- Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.
- Slowly stir in 1-2 more cups of cornmeal using a large wooden spoon. Cook for 5-10 more minutes to insure all cornmeal is cooked and remove from heat.
- It will continue to thicken as it cools. You will know how much cornmeal you will need, because it will be thick to stir, but not soupy at all.
- Place onions, garlic, and olive oil in large sauce pan and brown onions over medium heat.
- Add chicken, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and curry powder and cook over medium to low heat for 20 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
- Remove chicken and cut into bite sized pieces if desired or needed.
- Be careful to scoop sudza carefully into a bowl or plate. It will be internally hot for a long time!
- Dip/scoop curried chicken and tomatoes with sudza.
How to Eat it?
It’s not often that I describe how to eat something. To eat sudza you’ll have to let it cool slightly. It will be like molten lava when you first take it off of the burner. Once it’s cooled enough to touch, take a golf ball size into one hand and work it slightly so it’s pliable and form it into a scoop. Scoop your sauce and enjoy. When you’re done you can pass around a basin of water for everyone to wash their hands in. 🙂
Ok, if you really want to eat it with a fork and spoon, go ahead. But it won’t taste the same *wink *wink