Ncima and Collard Greens

Ncima, a corn meal porridge, and collard greens, peppers, tomatoes, onions, black beans and garlic, are mainstays of the diet in Mozambique. Those of us in the South are well acquainted with ncima, in the form of grits, and every Southern supermarket carries collard greens and the other vegetables in this dish. 

Widely used by African slaves, as well as immigrants to the Carolinas from Scotland, what was once thought of as food for poor folks, is now known to be very healthy and graces many Southern tables. Kale, mustard greens or turnip greens may be used instead of or in combination with collard greens.

Collards and sautéed vegetables

2-3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup white wine

1-16 ounce bag of collard greens, cut into thin strips or an equivalent amount of whole collards, washed, thick stems removed, and the leaves sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan.   

  2. Add onion and sauté until onions begin to become translucent.  Stir in bell pepper and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans and wine and stir together. 

  3. Add as many collard greens as will fit into the pan. As collards begin to shrink, add more until all of the collards are in the pan.  Cook until vegetables are soft.

  4. Season with salt and pepper.

Ncima

4 cups water

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 teaspoons salt 

 

  1. Pour water into a large pot. Over high heat, begin to bring to a boil.

  2. Slowly add the cornmeal to the water, stirring continuously with a sturdy wooden spoon. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened.

  3. The ncima should be very thick and smooth. Once the desired consistency is reached, turn off heat, cover the pot, and allow the ncima to stand for a few minutes before serving.​

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