Tuesday, January 16, 2018

International Cooking ~ Ugali

January 6, 2007 by  
Filed under Going Global, Monthly Articles

Interesting FactsKenyan Woman Cooking Ugali
Ugali is a staple starch component of many African meals, especially in southern and east Africa. It is generally made from maize flour (or ground maize) and water, and varies in consistency from porridge to a dough-like substance. When ugali is made from another starch, it is usually given a specific regional name.

The traditional method of eating ugali as a main course (and the most common in the hinterland) is to roll a lump into a ball with the right hand and then dip it into a sauce or stew of vegetables and/or meat. Making a depression with the thumb allows the ugali to be used to scoop, and to wrap around pieces of meat to pick them up in the same way that flat bread is used in other cultures. Firm ugali can also be eaten with a knife and fork.

Ugali is inexpensive to make and the flour can last for considerable time in average conditions. Also, the crops that produce the corn flour will grow reliably in poor seasons. For these reasons, ugali is an important part of the diet of millions of Africans.

Ugali is similar to foufou from West Africa, pap from South Africa, polenta from Italy and grits from the southern United States. It is often served as a part of traditional African meals.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1¼ cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup water


  1. Pour the milk into a mixing bowl. Slowly add ¾ cup of the cornmeal and whisk constantly into a paste.
  2. Heat the water in a medium saucepan to boiling.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir cornmeal and milk paste mixture into the boiling water. Reduce heat to low.
  4. Slowly add the remaining ½ cup of cornmeal, stirring constantly. The mixture should be smooth with no lumps.
  5. Cook for about 3 minutes. When the mixture begins to stick together and pull away from the sides of the pan, remove from heat.
  6. Pour mixture into a greased serving bowl and allow to cool.
  7. Serve at room temperature as a side dish to meat and vegetables.

Serves 4.

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