Namibian stiff porridge (Oshifima)

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Namibian stiff porridge (Oshifima): Namibian staple dish for more than two-thirds of the Namibian’s population of about 2,5 million made from mahangu flour (pearl millet flour), maize meal or a mixture of both and water. Tastes great served with Oshikandela (soured milk), grilled meat, vegetables- or meat stews such as Ombidi, Oshingali or beef stew.

This week I’m sharing with you one of the dishes that dominated my childhood: Oshifima also known as pap or stiff porridge. I’m a village girl that grew up in northern part of Namibia. As a kid I hated eating Oshifima. Like seriously we ate it at least two times a day throughout the year as a side dish to everything we have eaten.

Different side dishes like rice, pasta or Namibian potato salad for instance were only around during special occasions. During harvesting time, we also ate it only once a day, since we had lots of vegetables from the field.

Oshifima is traditionally made with pearl millet flour, but you can also replace part of the millet flour with maize meal or make your Oshifima completely with maize meal = mielie pap.

I’ve also tried making it using semolina flour when I moved to Germany and it worked out just fine.
Oshifima has a thick consistency. Men at the village like it super thick. Apparently super stiff porridge satisfies them and stays longer in their bellies. 🙂

How to eat Oshifima

We always eat around the fire, with our hands. Up to 5 people sit around a flat basket with stiff porridge and bowl of sauce. Before eating we wash our hands in a bowl with water or pour water on our hands. Then we form Oshifima balls using the right hand, richly dip it in the sauce and eat.

Some of my uncles make a dimple in the rolled ball with the thumb so that the porridge will soak more sauce. My husband used to struggle when eating with his hands. But with time he developed his own technique of rolling the porridge into balls.

What you’ll need to make stiff porridge

  • 400 ml/1 2/3 cups/ 13,5 fl oz  water
  • 40 g/ ¼ cup/ 3 tablespoons maize meal (cornmeal)
  • 45 g/ 1/3 cup/ 3 tablespoons pearl millet flour
  • a pinch of salt, to taste

You’ll also need

  • pot
  • wooden spoon

How to make pap

Heat the pot with water over medium heat until lukewarm. Add maize meal and a pinch of salt and stir well.

Stir occasionally until the mixture starts to boil and bubble. Let cook for about 2 minutes.

Slowly add millet flour with the left hand while stirring with the right hand.

Stir very fast with power, while holding the handle of the pot with one hand and the other hand is busy stirring (SEE VIDEO) until you have a smooth consistency.

Reduce the heat and let cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir very well once more.

Lift up the pot and flip Oshifima onto the plate and enjoy.

Very important: Immediately after cooking, before serving, fill the bottom of the pot with water to let soak and clean the sides of the pot. Clean the wooden spoon too. Because once the porridge has hardened, it’s very hard to clean off.

More recipes that go well with Namibian stiff porridge (Oshifima)

Namibian stiff porridge (Oshifima)

Namibian staple made from mahangu flour (millet flour), maize meal or a mixture of both and water in just 10 minutes. Tastes great served with Oshikandela (soured milk), grilled meat, vegetables- or meat stews.
Prep Time3 mins
Cook Time7 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: African, Namibian
Keyword: how to, Mealie-Pap, mielie pap, Namibian food, Oshifima, paleo, pap, Vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Ester from esterkocht.com

Equipment

  • pot
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 400 ml/ 1 2/3 cups/ 13,5 fl oz water
  • 40 g/1,4 oz/ ¼ cup/ 3 tbs maize meal (cornmeal)
  • 45 g/ 1,6 oz/ 1/3 cup/ 3 tbs mahangu flour ) (millet flour)
  • a pinch of salt to taste

Instructions

  • Heat the pot with water over medium heat until lukewarm. Add maize meal and a pinch of salt and stir well. Stir occasionally until the mixture starts to boil and bubble. Let cook for about 2 minutes. Slowly add millet flour with the left hand while stirring with the right hand. Stir very fast with power, while holding the handle of the pot with one hand and the other hand is busy stirring (SEE VIDEO) until you have a smooth consistency. Reduce the heat and let cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir very well once more. Lift up the pot and flip Oshifima onto the plate.

Video

Notes

  1. Immediately after cooking, before serving, fill the bottom of the pot with water to let soak and clean the sides of the pot. Clean the wooden spoon too. Because once the porridge has hardened, it's very hard to clean off.

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to see! Take a photo and share it on Ester kocht Facebook Page or @ester.kocht on Instagram.

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