Peanut Butter Porridge (Bota Une Dovi)

Cornmeal porridge with peanut butter recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
110 Calories
1g Fat
23g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 110
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 91mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 2g
Calcium 29mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Hopping over to the Southern African country of Zimbabwe, cornmeal (known as upfu in the Shona language, pronounced "ufu"), alongside milled grains such as sorghum, millet, or rapoko (finger millet locally known in Shona as njera), is an essential ingredient which can be used to prepare ​porridge (bota) for breakfast or, as a thicker version, lunch and dinner often in the form of sadza.

If you have eaten or cooked Zimbabwean food, such as muriwo une dovi, you will find that the use of peanut butter is very prominent. The addition of a spoon or two (or a cheeky three) tablespoons of unsweetened peanut butter to a bowl of porridge adds protein to the dish, and what you will end up with is a nutty porridge known as bota une dovi (porridge with peanut butter). This is by far a much better alternative to sugar-coated processed cereals, and nut-allergy-free children just love it! 

Fun Fact: In other parts of Southern Africa such as Botswana and some parts of South Africa, cornmeal porridge is known as "motogo" pronounced "moo-taw-hor."


  • 4 to 5 cups water (divided use)
  • 1 cup white cornmeal
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened peanut butter
  • Optional: milk, and sliced fruit (to serve)
  • Optional: sugar or sweetener (to serve)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cornmeal porridge with peanut butter
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Take 1 cup of cornmeal and add it to a pot. Add 1 cup of cold water to wet this and mix to create a paste. 

    Add porridge
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Add boiling water, then place the pot over high heat. The amount of water required will depend on the type and quality of cornmeal, but 3 to 4 cups is a good measure. Extra liquid can be added or cooked off as needed to achieve your ideal consistency.

    Add water
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to low heat to simmer for 15 minutes. You will notice it thickens rapidly.


    Care should be taken at this stage and we highly recommend covering the pot with a lid as the mixture tends to bubble and pop, which could easily cause burns if contact is made with your skin. 

  5. If it is too thick for your liking, add a few teaspoons of boiling water.

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Transfer cooked porridge to a bowl and mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter until well-incorporated.

    Cooked porridge
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Add sugar to taste if desired, and enjoy with or without milk and sliced fruit.

    Cornmeal porridge
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga