Ugali is the main source of starch in Kenyan food. Pasta is also traditional in the cuisine of several African countries, being known by different names depending on the place. Classic ugali is made with cornmeal and water. The ingredients are cooked into a dough and dipped into other dishes, such as vegetables and stews, throughout meals. In addition to being super delicious, the ugali is also capable of satisfying hunger for a long time.
- 1 cup or more of cornmeal.
- 3 cups of boiling water.
- 1 cup of cold water.
Part 1 of 2: Making the ugali
Step 1. Buy the flour and gather the necessary materials
Go to the market and buy a bag of cornmeal. In addition to the flour and water, you will need a pan, a wooden spoon and a stove to cook the dough.
- The pot should be big enough to hold six cups of ingredients with room to stir vigorously.
- If you cannot find cornmeal, you can also prepare ugali with cornstarch. The consistency, however, will be very different. Corn flour is thinner than cornstarch, which makes the dough much smoother and more gelatinous.
- Cooking ugali can make a hell of a mess. Give preference to a non-stick pan and keep in mind that you'll need a little extra effort to wash the dishes.
Step 2. Boil three cups of water in a kettle or other pot
The water should be hot enough to retain heat when you add the flour.
Step 3. Mix the flour with cold water while waiting for the rest of the water to boil
Take it easy, adding a little flour at a time.
Add a cup of boiling water at a time to the mixture to avoid lumps
Step 4. Quickly stir the mixture with a wooden spoon
Stir constantly so that the mixture heats up evenly and the lumps dissolve.
Step 5. Cook the dough until it thickens
It should have a very thick consistency.
You may need more than a cup of flour to make the ugali the right texture. Be more concerned with getting the consistency of the dough right than with following the recipe to the letter
Step 6. Cook until set
The ugali should be thicker than mashed potatoes. Cook until the dough starts to come loose from the sides of the pan.
At the end of cooking, it can be difficult to stir the dough and dilute the flour. Still, don't stop. Otherwise, the end result won't be firm enough
Part 2 of 2: Serving the ugali
Step 1. Pour the cooked ugali onto a plate
Use a wooden spoon to transfer it from the pan to the plate. Be very careful. The dough will be very hot.
Step 2. Cut the ugali into pieces with a knife
Cut it vertically and horizontally so the pieces are easier to pick up. Another option is to cut the ugali into slices from the center, as if it were a pie.
Leave the ugali whole if you don't want to cut it. In that case, let people tear off chunks of dough throughout the meal
Step 3. Serve the ugali
To eat ugali, you must first make a small ball with a piece of dough. The ball must be, at most, the size of a golf ball. After rolling the dough, sink it in the middle with your thumb. Use the sunken part to pick up other foods served in the meal.
Step 4. Combine ugali with other dishes
Ugali is delicious with the most varied dishes, especially those filled with broth, which need to be eaten with a spoon.
- Try serving the ugali with a salad or a portion of steamed vegetables such as kale and spinach.
- Ugali is also great with stews. Use the dough as you would bread, for example, to soak up the excess sauce left on the plate.
- Traditionally, ugali is also eaten with buttermilk.
- Traditionally, ugali is made with a wooden spoon. If you have a wooden spoon at home, don't hesitate to use it.
- If you want to make more ugali, just proportionally increase the amounts of the recipe. For every extra cup of flour, add two of water.