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Ugali [oo-gahl-ee] Recipe that takes minutes to make at home

Ugali Recipe that takes minutes to make at home
Popular African Recipe

Ugali [oo-gahl-ee] is a dish in Kenya and Tanzania made of fine cornmeal cooked in boiling water into a soft dough. Ugali is known in South Africa as Pap or Mielie, Sadza in Zimbabwe, and Nsima in Malawi; the name changes with region and language in Africa.

Making Ugali

Ugali recipe that takes minutes to make at home

Easy Ugali Recipe

Prep time 5 minutes Cook time 30 minutes Total time 30 minutes


4 cups finely ground cornmeal
8 cups water


Heat water to boiling in a saucepan. Slowly pour cornmeal into boiling water stirring continuously. Add more cornmeal if necessary until it is thick as soft bread dough. Serve immediately with vegetables, stew, or any dish you would use a spoon with to soak up the sauce, ugali is purposely bland tasting on its own.

Ugali Recipe

What is the difference between ugali and fufu

Fufu is a staple food common in many countries in Africa. The traditional method is to boil starchy food crops like cassava, yams or plantains and cocoyams and then pound them into a dough-like consistency. How do you eat Fufu? Simply tear off a small piece of Fufu hold it with your fingers making a slight indentation to scoop up a small portion of food. Fufu is a staple food in many countries in West Africa such as Cote D'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia, Togo, and Nigeria.

Ugali, on the other hand, is not made from starchy crops but from ground corn. It is sometimes made from other flours, such as millet or sorghum flour, and is sometimes mixed with cassava flour. It is cooked in boiling water or milk until it reaches a stiff or firm dough-like consistency. The main difference between fufu and ugali is fufu is pounded while ugali is boiled.

Here are a few other names of ugali in other African countries, same dish different name. Ogi, Akamu in Nigeria, Ngima, Buru, Sembe, Chenge, Arega in Kenya, Bando, Kaunga in Uganda, Moteke, Bidia, Bugali in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Isitshwala, Bogobe in Botswana, Xima and Chima in Mozambique, Mealie and Pap in Lesotho, and South Africa and Soor in Somalia and Zambia.

Seasoned travelers to Africa know about Cassava bread
Seasoned travelers to Africa know about Cassava bread

Serve your homemade African recipe of Ugali with another popular African food recipe of Curry Cassava Leaves. You can substitute spinach or kale for cassava leaves.

Curry Cassava Leaves
Curry Cassava Leaves 

Curry Cassava Leaves Served with Ugali

Prep time 10 minutes Cook time 10 minutes Total time 20 minutes


3 handfuls cassava leaves, chopped

1 medium white onion, diced

1 hot pepper, chopped (optional)

¼ cup of coconut milk

1 tablespoon good-quality curry powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil


In a large pot, add oil, curry, salt, and onions over medium-high heat and cook onions until soft and light brow. Add coconut milk, hot pepper then cassava leaves, stir and cover 5 minutes. When leaves are cooked to your liking (soft or with some bite left in them) serve with ugali.

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