The Proven Platter—Malawi, April 2023

Malwaian cuisine has remained relatively unchanged from influences of other cuisines. It is thus very traditional, utilizing the produce, grains, and meat that are found in the region and that can be locally sourced. Most dishes are uncomplicated and composed of a few ingredients and involve fairly straightforward preparation. Zitumbuwa are a perfect example of this. Zitumbuwa are deep fried banana fritters that are made of just three ingredients: banana, fine cornmeal (more traditionally, maizemeal), and baking soda. Some more contemporary interpretations add milk and egg, but we are keeping to basics here. The Zitumbuwa come together in less than 15 minutes and are best eaten hot. Crunchy, sweet, and delicious, they would make for a perfect evening snack with tea on a warm April evening.



Makes 8 -10


Ripe bananas – 3
Cornmeal – 1 cup
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Salt – a pinch
Neutral oil – 1 cup


Slotted spoon
Paper towels



Mash the bananas. Add the cornmeal and baking soda and mix well. The batter should have the consistency of thick pancake batter. If it is runny, add a little more cornmeal.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, add spoonfuls of batter and fry until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the fritters and allow to drain on paper towels. Serve hot!


Recipe and photo credit: Vinola V. Munyon