The Taste of Home

Food is, for many of us, a significant way of staying connected with our cultural and national roots.  It is, in a way, a remedy to the physical distance and the feeling of homesickness that we are sometimes subject to when far from home.

As a Malawian-born British citizen, this sentiment rings true, and I do not feel more connected to the land of my birth than when I cook its cuisine.

“The perfect snack to share with your housemates”

Malawi boasts a wealth of delicious foods, but what I love to cook the most are snacks called Zitumbuwa. Zitumbuwa are the equivalent of banana fritters, and they are very popular in Malawi.

They are a sweet treat, making them perfect for dessert, or just as a snack to have with your tea. Every batch you make will yield about 20 zitumbuwa, so they are the perfect snack to share with your housemates.


3 Very Ripe Bananas
1/2 cup Cornmeal (or plain flour if you do not have this.)
1 teaspoon Sugar
Oil (for frying)

“Best served fresh with a cup of tea”

  1. Mash the bananas, then add the cornmeal and sugar until you have a pancake-like batter.
  2. Pour and inch of oil into the pan and put oil on high heat, until a drop of water can sizzle when dropped in pan.
  3. Scoop the batter into units the size of a plum and flatten it into a 1cm thick circle on the curved surface of a bowl. To make it easier to remove the flattened batter from the side of the bowl, it’s best to have a small bowl of water that you can lightly dip you batter into prior.
  4. Drop the batter into the pan, and fry the zitumbuwa until golden on all sides
  5. Place them in a plate lined with tissue or cloth so that it can absorb excess oils from the zitumbuwa.

They are best served fresh with a cup of tea, but if you eat them the next day, a few seconds in the microwave to warm them up is perfect. 

I hope you enjoy making this small, flavour-packed Malawian snack!

Nema Lwanda

Featured image courtesy of Office Holidays via Flickr

Main image courtesy of  @tasty_bitesmalawi via Instagram.

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