Chikanda Recipe- Authentic Zambian Food

Chikanda commonly known as African Polony is one of the most delicious Zambian foods you just need to taste. It is a type of orchid known as wild edible orchid.  It is meatless, purely a vegetable. This Chikanda recipe will be prepared on a brazier but you can also do this in an oven.

Growing up, I used to buy most of my already prepared one in the streets or at the local market, but now it is being served everywhere,at work events, marriage events, hotels as well as supermarkets. This just goes to show what an amazing treat it is. However,  it is quite a tricky one to prepare , because sometimes it just does not come out right. If you are not very familiar with the Chikanda itself (the raw one) you are likely to purchase what is commonly referred to as “Mbwelenge”, a type  that is not very good and when prepared tends to be pasty, watery and falling all over the place. But fortunately for me, I managed to get a good type, so let’s get into the recipe;

Chikanda Recipe

You will need;

250g Chikanda

500g  groundnuts (in powder form)


Some chili powder

¾ teaspoon soda

A sieve

A charcoal brazier

A mortar and pestle



1. Wash the Chikanda in clean cold water and then dry it on a tray for some time

2. After it has dried, pound the chikanda using  a mortar and pestle and sieve out the fine powder. Repeat the process of pounding and sieving until most of the Chikanda is in powder form.

See also  Doughnuts Recipe -Simple, Quick and Tasty

3. Pour some water (2-3 cups) in a medium pot and add the powdered groundnuts (at least a cup or enough to form a light paste)

4. Put the pot on a charcoal brazier and stir continuously till the groundnuts are cooked.

5. Add the Chikanda powder bit by bit , and stir continuously till the paste becomes thick. Also add some salt and chilli

6.Dissolve the ¾ teaspoon of soda into water and add into the mixture, stirring until it becomes very thick

7. Continue to stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the chikanda is cooked and turns brown in colour.

8. Cover for 10 minutes.

9. Remove it from the fire and get some of the charcoal from your brazier and put it on top of the lid of your Chikanda pot. (turn the lid upside down) so that the Chikanda can bake and brown on top as well. Leave this charcoal for at least 15-30 minutes

Allow to cool and it is ready to serve

Slice it  and serve as a snack

To serve as a relish for Nshima/Pap, I like to make gravy using tomato, onion and some oil and then add in some slices of Chikanda. You can also add some raw onion, bell peppers and raw tomato and have it as a salad.

Chikanda has a great aroma and yummy taste.