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Nshima, with Beef Stew & Cabbage

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

First time I tried this Zambian dish was during my university days thanks to my Zambian friend! I could say loosely that it's Zambian because some other Southern African countries eat this too albeit it's called something different- Zimbabweans call Nshima Sadza/Isitshwala. Anyways, the point of the story is, it is a popular/staple southern African dish. One of the things that I loved about this dish is how surprisingly I don't feel heavy after eating compared to similar (Nigerian) dishes. I think this might be due to the stew and cabbage being somewhat healthier than similar Nigerian dishes! There are other vegetables & accompaniments that Nshima can be had with, cabbage & beef stew is just one of them. I would most likely put up more of these in the future.

Below I will give details of what you need for each part of the dish.

(serves 2)


Beef Stew:

- 500g Beef cuts

-1 Tinned tomatoes

-2x Seasoning cubes


-1 medium sized Onions

-1 tsp Black Pepper

-1 tbsp Oil

-1/2 Scotch bonnet (optional)


-300g of maize meal*

- 400ml Boiling water

Fried Cabbage

-2 Fresh Tomatoes

-1 large Onions

-1x pack Cabbage



It's best to prepare the dish in this order: Beef Stew, Fried Cabbage, and then Nshima.

Beef Stew

- Wash the beef thoroughly and place in a pot. Season with salt, seasoning cubes, thyme, and chopped onions. Add about 2 cups of water to boil. Add more water later on if needed until meat is tender.

- When the meat is tender, if there is stock left in, allow it to dry.

-Now to fry the meat. The type of beef you are using will determine if you need oil to fry. If the beef you're using doesn't have much fat on it, you will need to add a the oil to the beef as the stock is drying up. Stir as you fry to avoid it sticking/burning. If you are using beef with enough fat on it, then as the stock dries up it should release its fat as oil so you can fry the beef like this. Fry for 3-5 minutes.

- Season with black pepper, thyme and seasoning/stock cubes. Stir altogether and keep frying for another 2 minutes.

-Add the tinned chopped tomatoes in. Stir altogether and allow to boil for 10-15 minutes on a medium heat. Once the oil floats to the top and it no longer has the tangy tomato taste, then your beef stew is ready!

Fried Cabbage

You can start this process whilst the beef stew boiling.

- Slice the cabbages and rinse well. Chop the fresh tomatoes & onions and set aside.

- Boil water enough to just steam the cabbage. Pour the hot water into the cabbage and let it steam in the bowl for just 1 minute. This step is optional and you can just go straight t0 frying it. Steaming it allows it to fry quicker- and makes it less crunchier, so it depends on your texture preference which will determine what way you cook it.

-Put the oil in pot on medium heat. Allow oil to heat up for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the onions in and allow to sauté. Add the chopped tomatoes in and stir together. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes.

-Add the steamed or freshly cut cabbage in. Mix altogether and then add a little bit of salt to season. Leave to cook for about 2 minitues and it's ready!


Cooking this could double as your arm work out! Depending on your fitness level haha!

- Whilst the water is boiling in the pot, pour the flour in and stir at the same time with a wooden spoon. Stir quickly enough in order to avoid it creating lumps. Pour in enough flour to soak up the water and has a medium consistency.

-Add flour in bit by bit until you get the consistency you desire- advisable not too soft or not too hard either. Turn and stir for a few minutes- this is where you get that arm work out! (Don't worry you will gain the energy burnt back after eating this delicious meal!)

-Add half a cup of water and allow it's to boil on a low heat for about 2 minutes.

-Turn and stir again for a few minutes and then it is ready!

Dish together with the stew and cabbage and enjoy! Oh by the way, this is best eaten traditionally with your fingers but feel free to eat it with cutlery if you want!

*For those in the UK, if you can't get this (or any other ingredients) in your local African food shop or would prefer to order online, check out this website where you can order African food online-


Debby x

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