zed fusion: an afropolitan's foray into cooking

tute. kalembula. kandolo. umumbu. intungulu. mbalala. amataba. chinkombwe.
some of these fruits of the earth have english names; some do not. they are the foods that nourished my ancestors. the foods that provide essential and irreplaceable sustenance for my body. and they feed my afropolitan spirit, too--allowing me to blend zambian cuisine with flavours from my favorite global haunts into something new.
i come from the land of the great zambezi river that flows into the victoria falls, shaping the zambian diet into one predominated by fish, or insabi, combined with nshima--a staple food made from maize and cassava flour--and an abundance of vegetables. these foods are healthy, tasty, varied. yet when most people think about african creativity, they rarely mention the most basic of arts: cooking.

my mother's recent trip to the village brought riches from the earth--fresh produce, that inspired me to experiment in the kitchen, marrying traditional ingredients with global flavours.  it also reawakened the amateur photographer in me.


avocado, intungulu, umumbu and coriander salad

half a large avocado
2 intungulu roughly quartered (can substitute texture and flavour with lemon flesh and ground black pepper)
chopped coriander (or cilantro)
4 chopped umumbu (or jicama)
ripped iceberg lettuce
vinaigrette or lemon-based dressing

traditionally cooked beans, local variant of chinese cabbage, sweetcorn and carrot soup
a half pot of cooked kidney beans
6 diced carrots
two handfuls of sweetcorn
1 zambian chinese cabbage (or half a traditional chinese cabbage; 2-3 bok choy; or a small green or red cabbage)
chopped spring onion
chopped tomato
salt, ground black pepper, dried herbs (sage, thyme, basil, oregano, marjoram)

soak small kidney beans overnight and cook for about an hour. fry onion and tomato in a pan and season. add chicken or vegetable stock, onion and tomato to pot and simmer till sauce thickens. fry off carrots till caramelised, add onion, tomato, sweet corn and pre-cooked beans. season and simmer to desired thickness.

thai kariba bream (tilapia) and chinkombwe

1 whole tilapia, scored
2 tsp sesame oil
lemon juice
fish sauce
salt, ground pepper, coriander (cilantro), dried sweet basil, crushed garlic and ginger
chopped handful of chinkombwe (okra)
salt, ground black pepper

dress fish with ingredients on each side (1tsp of oil per side) and its belly and wrap in foil. bake in pre-heated 180°C (350°F) oven for 45 minutes. fry okra until crispy. add onion and tomato and season.

intungulu juice

a basketful of intungulu
lime juice
dark brown sugar

peel intungulu and place seeded flesh in a blender or food processor. add lime juice to desired tartness, and brown sugar until a little sweeter than you would like. add water to thin juice and balance the sugar. sieve and add seeds and pulp or leave clear. (if you don't have the fruit, use lemon juice to add a similar flavour and add ground black pepper as a substitute for the seeds.)

this juice may remind you of your youth playing with brown water trapped in a pothole, making a home for tadpoles during the rainy season, but i promise you it's tasty.

read more posts by mwana ba afrika


{ Abigail Nyirenda } | April 11, 2013 at 6:40 AM said...

Lovely recipes, look so yummy. Lovely to see a Zambia related features on the web. Amazing website btw


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