Tuesday, 4 January 2011


Ugali, fried tilapia, sukumawiki

Ugali is a staple starchy food much like potato or pasta in other cultures.  Ugali is made from maize flour and is used in many parts of Africa.  It is has many names, such as sadza in Zimbabwe.  In some parts of Africa semolina (made from wheat) is used in a similar way.  Ugali is usually prepared with water and is very plain.  It is served with stews or other wet foods.  It is eaten with your hands and can take some practice!  Make a small ball of ugali in your right (always the right!) hand,  flatten it slightly and use this to scoop your stew.

Meals are always served with a bowl of warm water, perhaps with a slice of lemon.  This is passed around to wash your right hand before and after the meal.  I have a friend from Zimbabwe who comes around with a bowl and a pitcher of warm, lemony water which she pours over your hand.  A lovely ritual.

You will need:
fine white maize
wooden spoon

  1. Fill half of a medium size pan with water and bring to the boil.

2.  Take a few spoonfuls of boiled water and add to 1/4 cup of maize in a bowl.  Mix with additional cold water and stir until the maize is smooth.  .

Add back to the pan and stir almost constantly to prevent lumps on the bottom of the pan.  Boil and stir for a further few minutes until the mixture boils.

3.  Next, add one cup of maize and begin to stir quite vigorously.  It is quite like mashing potatoes.  You are looking to smooth out any lumps quite quickly.  If it is still quite wet you can add another 1/4 cup of maize.  When it is smooth it is ready to be moved to a burner with low heat.  Place a lid on it and leave it for ten minutes.  You can check on it and give it a stir a few times. 

4.  The ugali is then emptied out onto the serving plate.  It is quite firm at this stage, and stands up on its own in a mound. 

Ugali, fried tilapia, and sukumawiki

Traditional "Mwiko" which is a flat wooden spoon used to make ugali.

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