Nsima with pumpkin leaves, tomato, and ground nuts – Zambia, Africa


Nsima with pumpkin leaves, tomato, and ground nuts

Kathy Felgenhauer and Perseverance Kalyobwa
This recipe is verbally and visually handed down from woman to woman in the African culture.  It is difficult to put into written word.  Best results will be to first witness and then practice.  However, it is delicious.  Nsima is eaten every day with the relish (vegetables and sometimes meat) varied.  Enjoy! 
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine African


  • 2 large handfuls of young, green pumpkin leaves (directly from pumpkin patch)
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups ground peanuts
  • 4-8 cups ground maize white corn flour as found in an African market
  • salt
  • water


  • Wash pumpkin leaves in a sink full of water and proceed to de-vein by grabbing hold of tiny strings and pulling them off – this makes the leaves easier to eat.
  • Chop tomatoes into small pieces 
  • Place ¼ to ½ cup water in large pot and salt the water. Then put pumpkin leaves on top of the water and steam on the stove at a medium temperature. Put the lid on the pot. 
  • Once the leaves begin to steam – add the chopped tomatoes on top of the leaves and then add the groundnuts on top of the tomatoes.  Replace the lid and continue to steam on medium/low heat.  
  • As liquid reduces, stir the vegetable/nut mixture and continue cooking until it has more of a creamy consistency with most liquid reduced.
  • Now add ½ up water to bottom of another large pot. Salt the water.  Add 2-4 cups ground maize and stir.  Place on medium/low heat and cook until it begins to boil. 
  • As it starts to bubble, add hot water and more cups of ground maize until the desired amount.  Continue to let it cook  - stir occasionally in an upward motion until it has a thickness of mashed potatoes – quite stiff.  
  • Serve large spoonful of nsima onto a plate.  Add a desired amount of vegetable relish on the plate.  Eat with fingers – enjoy! 


Keyword african