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Sadza or sadza re chibage is an African version of porridge produced from cornmeal, mielie meal or maize meal and water. It forms the essential carbohydrate portion of African meals and is consumed in different forms in almost every African region. Due to the large variety of cultures and languages in the African subcontinent, the dish has a variety of names. For example, the local shona name for the porridge is Sadza in Zimbabwe while the local tribal Ndebele name for the same dish is isitshwala. In South Africa, the same dish is referred to as Mielie Pap while the Zambians refer to it as Nshima. The dish is given another name in Eastern Africa including the states of Kenya and Tanzania where it is named Ugali. In the tiny state of Malawai, it is referred to as Sima. Furthermore, a large variety of cooking techniques are used along with different recipes to make the same dish.


Originally, a porridge made from millet formed the essential carbohydrate component of every African meal. Millet was a staple crop in the continent and it was easy to grind to produce millet flour. However, Kenya started actively growing corn which was exported to every state in the African continent. The grain was then ground to produce cornmeal and used to make a thick porridge which slowly replaced millet porridges in meals.

Ingredients and Preparation

White corn meal or mielie meal is now commonly used to produce the sadza but a few versions do use yellow cornmeal too. Yellow cornmeal is commonly referred to as KENYA as it was originally imported from Kenya. If mealie meal cannot be found, cream of wheat, or Pillsbury Farina flour can be used. The actual method of preparation varies considerably but modern methods add the mielie meal to the water to mix it well. This paste is then poured into boiling water and cooked on a high heat continuously. As the sadza thickens, more mealie meal may be added. The sadza is done when the mixture pulls away from the pot and forms a ball. Traditionally, salt is not used to season the dish.


Sadza is prepared and served in a communal bowl from which each diner can serve himself. It can also be served in separate individual bowls from where diners pinch up small amounts, roll them into balls and then dip them into meat sauces, gravies, soya chunks, pumpkin leaves, sugar beans, spring beans or vegetable stews for consumption.

Popular Variations

  • Krummelpap is a South African version of Sadza prepared by pouring water in a pot. The mielie pap is poured into the center of the water which is heating gently. The heat is reduced and the dish is allowed to simmer. This method results in a very fine crumble sadza that is served along with meat dishes or at barbeques.
  • Sadza ne Nyama ye Huku is a kind of sadza that is served with chicken stew. The stew is prepared with chicken on the bone simmered with tomatoes, scallions, onions, ginger, red pepper and spices. The sadza is then cooked separately and served with the chicken stew.

Nutritional value

An average African individual consumes about 350 g or 12.3 ounces or Sadza at every meal. A single serving of sadza contains 433 calories. The total fat content is 4.2 g, while the total sodium content is 41.65 mg. The total carbohydrates value of the dish is 89.6 g, the fiber content is 8.4 g, the protein content is 9.5 g, the calcium content is 7 mg, while the iron content is 4.2 mg.


Sadza may also be prepared from other local grains and the grain name is added to the term "sadza" as a suffix. For example, sadza prepared from bulrush millet flour or mhunga flour or rapoko flour is referred to as sadza mhunga.