Sadza Recipe | South African Mielie Pap | Nshima Zambia | Ugali

Sadza Recipes | Isitshwala | Mielie Pap | Nshima | Ugali

Sadza has many names throughout Africa, the shona name for Zimbabwe’s staple food is Sadza, the Ndebele word for it is isitshwala, in South Africa it is known as Mielie Pap, in Zambia they call it Nshima, in Eastern Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) the name for sadza is Ugali and in Malawai it is called Sima. Along with all the different names for it, there are also many variations on how to cook it and what is the best way to eat it. What I hope to do in this document is to list some of the more common ways to make and eat this wonderful food. Hint: many of these recipes are also perfect for the braai or barbeque.

Zimbabwe Sadza neHuku

Sadza or Mielie Pap with chicken, African FoodZimbabwe’s Sadza is always eaten with meat or a vegetable relish.

  • Sadza neHuku = Sadza and Chicken
  • Sadza neNyama = Sadza and Meat (red)
  • Sadza neBeans = Sadza and beans
  • Sadza neMatemba = Sadza and Kapenta
  • Sadza is also eaten with mopane worms

How to Cook Sadza | Krummelpap

Sadza, Isitshwala or Pap Ingredients
To make traditional Zimbabwean Sadza (isitshwala) you will need:

  • 2 – 4 cups white mielie meal / cornmeal / maze meal.
  • water

To make the Sadza (isitshwala):
First boil about 4 cups of the water in a pot.

Set aside about 1/4 of your mielie meal and mix the rest with about 3 or 4 cups of water to make a thick paste – make sure you have a strong arm and wooden spoon!

Then slowly add this paste to the boiling water, stirring all the time, this will prevent lumps from forming and bring to the boil again, don’t talk too much with your friends around the braai or it will stick and burn the bottom of the pot! Keep cooking and stirring for a few more minutes.

Then slowly add the remaining mielie meal to the pot. The sadza should be very thick and smooth, it should then begin to pull away from the sides of the pot and form a large ball. Cook for a few minutes more.

That’s it, then transfer it to a bowl and serve your sadza (isitshwala or pap) with relish or meat (nyama)

Sadza or Pap: African FoodSadza (pap in South Africa)

Sadza (pap) along with a good relish (see the Chakalaka Recipe) is a must for a genuine braai. Not only does it full up the kids cheaply but tastes great aswell! The only other dish that I can think of that comes close to it for the use as a side dish at a braai would be pototo salad. Ngwere Ngwere sadza, mushe, mushe sadza, ngwere-ngwere SADZA!! » Buy Sadza Here >>


Krummelpap is on of the South African methods of cooking pap (Sadza). It is more crumbly (krummel) that normal pap or sadza. It is traditionally eaten for breakfast, with milk, butter, and sugar. It can also be eaten at dinner and served with Gravy and you will often find krummelpap at a “real” South African braai. I would describe krummelpap being somewhere near polenta and couscous.

Krummelpap Ingredients
To make krummelpap, you will need:

  • 750 ml (3 cups) water
  • 10 ml (2 ts) salt
  • 600 g (4 cups) mealie meal (you can also find pap these days)

How to cook Krummelpap:
Poor the water in a pot or potjie. Then pour in the mealie meal to form a cone like pile in the center of the potjie. Do not stir the pot yet, but reduce the heat and add some salt, put the lid on potjie and let pap simmer for about five minutes, until a skin forms.

Once a skin has formed, stir the pap with a fork until it is fine and crumbly. Cover the poitjie again and let pap simmer for about another 45mins.

If you know of other methods to cook sadza / pap please contact us and let me know!

I hope you enjoy your sadza (pap), check back soon when I show you some more African food and Mielie meal recipes.

UK – Southern Africa Cookbooks on

USA – Southern Africa Cookbooks on

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  • Reneé

    Hi , have been looking for the sadza recipe for years.!! thanks

  • This method was taught to me by Oom Harry at Mkwasine:

    Take equal quantities of water and maize meal. Boil water, add salt to taste, then, and this is the technical bit, add the maize meal slowly while stirring – the trick is to add it slowly enough that lumps don’t form, and even more importantly, not to let the water come off the boil. If it does, you end up with raw tasting sadza unless you steam it for a good while – and then you end up with it burning on the bottom of the pot etc.

    Carry on adding meal until you have a thick boiling porridge that is going ‘plop’ ‘plop’ and the bits ‘plopping’ out of the pot are burning the hell out of you. Leave it to plop away for 20 mins or so (covered with a lid) and then add the rest of the meal bit by bit until you have the texture/stiffness you are looking for.

    Works quicker than any other way I know, and doesn’t have that raw taste that badly cooked sadza can have.

  • Joy

    Baia Dankie! ( have I forgoten how to spell in Afrikaans, it doesn’t loook right) Anyway, thanks, I am about to make meilie pap for the kids here in Australia!

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  • Great recipe, thanks for sharing!

  • Walter

    Hi, I think my way is easier and is enjoyed by many. I add enough maize meal (2/3 cups, salt optional, some traditionalists believe this is taboo!) to any kind of pot, cover fully with cold water, about 3 inches above the maize meal, then bring quickly to the boil, stirring frequently, until the porridge is thick enough to stay in the pot. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes stirring regularly. Add a bit more maize meal to thicken to preferred consistency, or just leave it to steam giving a relatively soft pap. Stir regularly. There will be a hard crust at the bottom of the pot, but this is considered to be an essential component of pap by those who invented it. Slight burning of the bottom crust adds aroma and character. The crust makes an interesting side dish served hot with butter, “maas” or sour cream. Soak the pot overnight to clean.

    My way described by some as making “breakfast pap” then thickening it to become normal pap. I find the stress of adding maize meal to boiling water somewhat intimidating, requires too much attention.

    If served with any chicken dish, please please find free range chicken, the mass-produced variety spoils the taste of a good sadza.

    Bon Appatite

  • lauren

    We make it at home more the crumby south african one
    And we add butter and aromat and its yummy

  • Francois

    Is there any way of preserving pap or sadsa after cooking for long periods especially in the African warmer climates where cooling facility’s are scarce.

  • Diana Pitchers

    Dankie, Im a south african who was brought up in the UK although born in Bloemfontain…mealie pap and ina parmaan is a staple. Add ina parmaan braai spice to mealies and stir. Also if savory have it with potjie or english stew (anything with gravy works!) and put cream cheese and garlic through it with plenty of butter.

    Your recipies are great, wanted to see how i could stop mealie pap getting lumpy! Mine nearly always gets lumpy :( lol

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