RECIPE: Bota Une Dovi (Zimbabwean Porridge with Peanut Butter)

People & Culture

Bowl with corn semolina porridge and banana slices and hazelnuts

Now that school is back in session and we approach the cooler days of fall, nothing will get kids (and adults) better equipped for the day than a good breakfast. Instead of sugar-filled cereals, try something warm, healthy, and just a bit different, Bota Une Dovi.

Bota Une Dovi is a porridge made in Zimbabwe and other parts of Southern Africa. It’s made of cornmeal, so will energize and keep you full till lunchtime. One special ingredient which is popular in various Zimbabwean dishes, and is added to this porridge, is peanut butter. Gone are the days of being able to bring peanut butter sandwiches and other nut products to school, for fear of nut allergies, so if your child is nut-allergy-free, why not feed them something they’d enjoy, while providing them the protein and nutrition needed to start their day.

While Bota Une Dovi is delicious on its own, you can top it with fresh fruit slices and even nuts (sparingly). Another option is to add milk for added creaminess.

Victoria Falls in the morning light, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls in the morning light, Zimbabwe

Servings: 3 – 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup white cornmeal
  • Pinch of salt, to taste
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Sugar or honey, to taste

Directions:

  1. Add 1 cup of cornmeal into a saucepan. Slowly add 1 cup of cold water, stirring vigorously, creating a thick paste.
  2. Turn the heat on to high and add in the boiling water and a pinch of salt. Stir well. (The quantity of water needed will depend on the type and quality of the cornmeal you are using.)
  3. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer, letting it gently cook for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Take off heat when desired consistency is reached.
  5. Once ready to serve, ladle the porridge to an individual serving bowl and mix in 1 or 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter, sugar/honey to taste, and optional milk, fruit slices, and nuts.

NOTE: Assess the texture of the mixture early on in the cooking process. If it’s too thick, add more boiling water. If it is too thin, cook it for a longer time.

CAUTION: As soon as you add the boiling water, the mixture will thicken quickly. Therefore, during the cooking process, it will pop and spatter, so exercise caution when stirring, and partially cover the saucepan with a lid.