Vitumbuwa or Fritas

by Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

One of the cheapest but delicious snack that you can buy by the road side or in markets in Zambia are vitumbuwa or fritas. Their main signature is that they are cheap, simple to make and cook. Of course if you want to improve on the taste of vitumbuwa you could add other ingredients like using whole wheat flour, milk, eggs, and butter. The only problem then might be that what you will have is not the typical chitumbuwa or frita taste, but something different. When ever I am home sick and I need the taste of chitumbuwa or frita, this is the recipe I use:

3 Cups White Flour
21/2 generous Teaspoonfuls Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Bottle of Cooking Oil

1. Pour 3 Cups of white flour into a medium sized bowl or dish. Add the 21/2 generous teaspoonfuls of Baking Powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
2. Mix the ingredients with a spoon.
3. Slowly pour water into the mixture while stirring until the batter has a medium thickness probably to the consistency of soft nshima.
4. Pour cooking oil into a deep saucepan until the oil covers the entire bottom perhaps 1/8 of an inch.
5. Heat the oil on medium heat until it is just hot enough not to splatter dangerously when you cook the vitumbuwa or frita.
6. Use a large tablespoon to scoop the vitumbuwa batter or dough from the bowl and place probably 5 to 6 of them in the pan depending on its size. Let each chitumbuwa cook for 2 to 3 minutes before you flip it over with a spatula to cook the other side.
7. The Chitumbuwa or frita is done when it is all nicely light to dark brown. Remove with a folk and place on a plate with a paper towel placed on it.
8. DO NOT try to taste the chitumbuwa when it is straight from the pan. Serve when it has cooled down.