Sadza Recipe


Recipe for sadza


Anouchka Giles was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. She moved to Durban, South Africa, in her twenties and lived there until immigrating to the United States in 2012.

Original Script:

“okay so um, basically you got to use, well, we call it mealie meal they call it cornmeal here but it’s better if you use the fine ground one, you don’t want one that’s too course. And then basically you put water in a pot and then you add sadza – uhh mealie meal to it with a bit of salt, and then you take a wooden spoon and you stir it till it starts to bubble and get thick, and then you let it cook.. for… I would say that if you want to get rid of the bitter taste you have to let it cook for about an hour, slowly, or at least 40 minutes and then you put a stick of butter right at the end and so it becomes like a stiff kind of creamy texture to it.”

Informant’s Background Knowledge and Relationship with this Piece:

According to the informant, this recipe is traditionally from Zimbabwe. Originally, she had made phutu, a variant of this recipe that is more common in South Africa. She started making sadza when she learned the recipe from her mother in law, who had lived most of her life in Zimbabwe. According to her, sadza has a much smoother consistency which she prefers, and which her husband and his side of the family was more used to.

Thoughts about the piece:

I grew up eating sadza, and I’ve always enjoyed it. From my own experience I know that corn and cornmeal are staple food products in many regions of southern Africa, and sadza is a recipe that was developed as a means of consuming those products. Of course, this version of the recipe has been refitted: the butter is purely for taste and in poorer areas adding a stick of it would be considered a luxury. Also, these same people would often not have adjustable stoves but would instead heat their pot over an open flame. In these conditions it is easy to burn the sadza, and so it would be a better decision to cook the sadza for a shorter time, which would leave a more bitter taste.