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Ugali, a staple dish in Kenyan cuisine


Ugali, a staple dish in Kenyan cuisine

Ugali is a simple yet essential part of Kenyan cuisine, enjoyed across the country as a versatile and filling accompaniment to a variety of dishes.

  • Author: Chef




  1. Prepare Your Utensils:
    • Choose a heavy-bottomed cooking pot or sufuria. Ugali requires constant stirring, and a heavy pot helps prevent burning.
    • Use a wooden cooking stick or spatula for stirring. Metal utensils can scratch the pot and affect the consistency of the Ugali.
  2. Measure the Ingredients:
    • Measure 2 cups of maize flour and 4 cups of water. The ratio is typically 1 part maize flour to 2 parts water, but you can adjust this based on your preference for a softer or firmer texture.
  3. Boil the Water:
    • Place the pot on the stove and bring the 4 cups of water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the Maize Flour:
    • Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low.
    • Gradually add the 2 cups of maize flour to the simmering water while continuously stirring. This is important to avoid lumps from forming.
  5. Stirring Process:
    • Begin stirring the mixture vigorously with the wooden stick or spatula. Use a circular motion to incorporate the maize flour into the water evenly.
  6. Cooking the Ugali:
    • Continue stirring the mixture for about 8-10 minutes. The Ugali will start to thicken and come together as a dough-like consistency.
  7. Testing for Doneness:
    • To test if the Ugali is done, take a small portion and roll it into a ball using your fingers. It should hold its shape and not feel too sticky.
  8. Shaping the Ugali:
    • Once the Ugali is cooked and reaches the desired consistency, you can shape it into a dome or cylinder using a wet wooden spoon or spatula. This traditional shaping method is called “kupiga nyungu.”
  9. Serving:
    • Ugali is typically served as a side dish to accompany stews, vegetables, or meats. It can be used to scoop up other dishes or eaten on its own.
    • To eat, tear off a small piece of Ugali, roll it into a ball, and use it to scoop up the main dish.
  10. Optional Salt:
    • Some people prefer to add a pinch of salt while cooking the Ugali to enhance its flavor. This is optional and can be adjusted according to your taste.
  11. Storage:
    • Leftover Ugali can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, you can steam it or microwave it with a little water to restore its moisture.

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