The Proven Platter – March 2021, Zimbabwe

This month’s dish is samp and beans, which comes from Zimbabwe, a central African country. Zimbabwe is bordered by two rivers which supply fish to eat and water to grow crops in the summer. Most of the crops and fish are dried to last through the dry winters. Common to every culture is a stew started from dried beans and vegetables – what sets them apart are the spices used to flavor them. This dish uses a unique blend of warm African spices that elevate the dried beans and samp into a hearty stew.

If you are unfamiliar with samp, it is a type of dried corn with a consistency somewhere between hominy and grits/polenta. It is readily available online, but you might also be surprised to find it in your local market or big box store.

2 c. dried samp
2 c. dried sugar beans or pinto beans
¼ c. olive oil
2 c. onion, medium chop
2 c. potato, medium chop
2 c. tomato, medium chop
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. curry
1 tsp. allspice
½ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper


Soak the dried samp and beans in water overnight. Drain and rinse the samp and beans and return them to the pot with 8 cups water. Simmer until beans begin to soften. When the beans are almost fully cooked, sauté the olive oil, onion, potato, tomato, and garlic on medium heat for 15 minutes until browned. Stir the spices into the vegetable mixture and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the vegetable spice mixture to the samp and beans and simmer for 30 minutes making sure the beans are fully cooked.


Recipe and photo credit: Georgia Reader