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As a girl in rural Zimbabwe, Tsitsi worked on her family’s farm and sold vegetables door to door in her village.

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Tsitsi Mutseta’s

Sadza with Relish

Sadza, a Zimbabwean staple made from cornmeal, is a mainstay at Tsitsi’s table in the United States. She likes to eat it with relish — a stew of tomatoes, greens and other vegetables from her garden. Serves four to six.


  • Relish

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes (about 3 lbs.), diced
  • 3 cups greens (spinach, kale or collard), sliced into ribbons
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped (plus a few springs for garnish)

  • Spice Mix

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Sadza

  • 4 – 4 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups cornmeal (white or yellow)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger and sauté for five minutes, stirring occasionally or until onions are soft and translucent. Meanwhile, dice tomatoes and set aside. Combine dry spices in a separate bowl. Add three-quarters of spice mix to onions. Stir to combine. Add tomatoes and 1/4 cup of water. Stir and simmer covered on medium heat for fifteen minutes. Every few minutes press down on the tomatoes with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add shredded greens, remaining spice mix, scallions and parsley. Simmer five minutes more or until greens are soft. Serve garnished with parsley.

Boil 2 cups of water. Combine 1 1/2 cups cornmeal with 2 cups of cold water to form a thick paste. Slowly add paste to the boiling water, stirring continually to prevent lumps. Return water to a boil and stir for about two minutes. Slowly add the remaining cornmeal to the pot. The sadza consistency should be very thick and smooth. Once it begins to pull away from the sides of the pot and form a large ball, remove it from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer sadza into a serving bowl or use wet hands to form into palm-sized balls. Serve with relish.

More About Tsitsi Mutseta


Home Country

Tsitsi studied health at San Diego State University. After developing cancer, she put her career on hold to focus on her recovery. Learn more about the IRC’s work in Zimbabwe »

San Diego

New Roots City

Tsitsi and her sister Idzai grow tomatoes, kale, spinach, okra and other vegetables at their plot in a New Roots community farm and in a friend’s backyard.

"The garden is a very healing place for me."

Each week, they sell their produce at two large farmers markets, helping to increase the availability of healthy, locally grown food in the San Diego area. Explore New Roots Near You »