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Zambian Cuisine

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Tumbuka Cuisine (Eastern Zambia) Edit

The Tumbuka tribe is located in the eastern regions of Zambia. Their food is very traditional and you can find here exotic dishes made from mice or elephant meat. Compared to beef, chicken, or mutton, mice still remain by far the cheapest source of otherwise scarce and costly protein. The mouse (mbeba) is found in the wild and lives on roots, nuts and berries. Mice are also especially found in large numbers in gardens where they can feed on peanuts, corn, sweet potatoes, peas, cassava. The hunting and eating of mice is very deeply entrenched in the customs and traditions of the Tumbuka people. As a delicacy, mice might be offered with the Nshima staple traditional meal, which is cooked by boiling plain water and stirring corn meal into it until the mixture is thick. The meal with mice might be served to guests, other respected elders, or eaten by the family as a special treat. The cooking of mice is very simple and it is done by gutting the animal, boiling it in plain water and then fire dried until they are nearly bone dry. Another traditional food of the Tumbuka people is Chinaka. Chinaka is a sausage dish that is eaten and enjoyed in the rural areas. Chinaka is a food that is cooked from a tuber, the size of small potatoes, found in the wild. It is cooked with peanut powder and spices. In rural Zambia it is eaten with the Nshima meal. Aside from the Chinaka tuber, other ingredients are baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper.

Bemba Cuisine (North Zambia) Edit

The Bemba is the largest ethnic group in the Northern Province of Zambia. The Bemba live in rural villages built for inherited extended families. Their main job is a type of subsistence farming in the form of shifting cultivation. Each family grows its own food and is very self-sufficing. The main crops are finger millet and cassava. Other foods are grown such as: beans, peas, maize, and sorghum. Other food in their meal plans include peanuts, gourds or squash, sweet potatoes, bananas, pumpkins, cucumbers, and cowpeas. There diet is based mostly on vegetarian dishes and they eat meat at special occasions. One of the most popular dishes is Ifisashi. It consists of peanuts, tomatoes, onion, collard greens, pumpkin leaves, sweet potato leaves, spinach and cooked cabbage. Meat can be added. This dish is usually served with Nshima. Samp is another traditional recipe that is very easy to make. It only has two ingredients: hominy and dried beans. Kibbutz salad is another Bemba dish, very popular among Zambians. It is a mixture of vegetables that can be served with Nshima. Its main ingredients are cucumber, tomatoes, lemon, red pepper, garlic, sugar and chopped parsley. Bemba women collect honey and insects like caterpillars and grasshoppers, which they use as ingredients in many dishes. Here is a simple recipe for caterpillars: in salted water boil until tender a pound of fresh, dried, or smoked caterpillars. In a separate pot, boil greens (spinach, collards, or similar) until fully cooked; add hot peppers, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste. Serve the caterpillars over a bed of greens.


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