Instead of buying gravy mixes, soup powders or stock cubes, which probably contain all kinds of unhealthy additives, you can easily make your own using a wide range of dried ingredients such as:
Made using the method described in our article on drying delights: tomato, onion, chili, mufushwa (nyemba, mbora, nyeve, dedere or mowa), green peppers or okra. Once dry grind the vegetables into powder.
Dried bean and cereal powder
You can use any type of beans including nyimo, nyemba or even groundnuts and any type of cereal including sorghum, millet and African rice. Boil the beans or cereal separately until they are almost tender then drain. Pound in a mortar then spread out to dry on a clean drying rack. After drying, lightly roast the bean or cereal powder until light brown. Sieve to remove any course grains.
Use the bean/cereal powder as a base for your usavi (soup) mixture and add table spoonfuls of the different vegetable powders according to your taste. Add salt and pepper, herbs and spices and other flavours such as powders of dried mushrooms, fish, insects or dried meat. Store the usavi powder in a clean dry jar until you need to use it.
To use the usavi (soup) powder mix one heaped tablespoonful of the powder to half a cup of cold water and mix well. Add to relish or stews and simmer for 5 minutes.
Adapted from A Zimbabwe Cookbook: recipes for local foods Care International in Zimbabwe.