"I've learned a lot researching for the ZWT '05: Eastern Africa's Ugali (similar to Southern Africa's Mealie-meal, Nshima, and Sadza) is usually made from maize (corn) which was brought from the Americas to Africa by Europeans. Previously it was made from millet. These starchy Fufu-like "foundations" are the Eastern African versions of Western African staples like Fufu (which is generally made from yams, plantains, or cassava tubers) and Banku, Kenkey, or Tô. -- They are all starchy accompaniments for the African soup or stew or sauce, or other dishes with sauce or gravy. They are generally made by boiling and vigorously stirring a starchy ingredient into a thick, smooth mush. Many Africans feel they haven't had a meal unless they have eaten Fufu or Ugali with a sauce or stew."
photo by a user photo by a user
Ready In:


  • 4 cups finely ground cornmeal (If you can find the kind that is so finely ground as to be like flour, grab it!!)
  • 8 cups water


  • Heat water to boiling in a saucepan. Slowly pour the corn flour into boiling water. Avoid forming lumps.
  • Stir continuously and mash any lumps that do form. Add more corn flour until it is thicker than mashed potatoes.
  • Cook for three or four minutes, continue to stir. (Continuing to stir as the ugali thickens is the secret to success, i.e., lump-free ugali.)
  • Top with a pat of butter or margarine, if desired.
  • Cover and keep warm.
  • Serve immediately with any meat or vegetable stew, or any dish with a sauce or gravy.

Questions & Replies

  1. how does ugali taste?
  2. how does this taste


  1. I made a half recipe of this and that was plenty. To me it is like polenta too. Looks pretty and a pleasant change.
  2. My fiance spoke highly of this Kenyan dish before I flew over to Kenya to marry her in Nov. of last year. After she made it for us the first time, I could understand her love for this dish! So simple, yet so delicious! Now I have a wife that can can make this dish for us (and teach me) and we can enjoy it together. Finding the proper corn flour in America has been a challenge, though. I'll keep trying until I find the right stuff.
  3. Since the previous reviews mentioned the similarity of this dish to polenta, thought I would begin by chiming in. Though the basic ingredients are the same, my results were rather different in texture. Polenta coats a spoon when cooked and can be poured if you are looking to chill it. My ugali was much thicker and would actually sit on the spoon and even thick and chunky enough to pick up with a fork. Served this with leftover Recipe #215110 as a filling and pleasing lunch. I enjoyed that the cornmeal was thick as it sat below my stew rather than melting into it. Thanks Elmotoo.
  4. Although I didn't make this exact recipe, I love ugali. Butter really adds to ugali.
  5. We had Africa night recently and I served ugali with zigni (<a href="/31076">Zigni</a>). It was delicious. I really appreciate how informative this posting is and how clear and detailed the instructions are. Couldn't find the fine corn flour and used medium, but will stay on the lookout for fine grind. Thank you sooo much for a good posting.


  1. it goes well with some grilled chicken and olive oil.



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