In almost every Kenyan family, Ugali is a staple food. It is also referred to as Sima in the coastal regions. It is a simple dish prepared by cooking two ingredients; water and maize/corn flour. Various communities in Kenya have their own local name for the dish. It is called busuma in my local dialect.
Ugali is also common in a number of other African countries like Tanzania, Uganda and Southern African countries each with its distinct name. Others like Nigeria prepare a common dish referred to as fufu cooked using cassava flour.
Ugali/Sima can be served with various vegetables like collards/kales, spinach, meat dishes and stews.. Ugali provides the body with carbohydrates because the main food ingredient is maize or corn. Some people opt to add salt while cooking although it is not necessary. You have the option of cooking with or without the salt according to your taste and liking.
Ugali takes a relatively short time to cook. The following is the procedure.
Ingredients: Serves two
1.) 4 cups of water
2.) 2 cups of maize flour/cornmeal
1.) Pour water to a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil
2.) Add a handful of the maize flour/cornmeal to the boiling water.
3.) Using a flat wooden spoon, stir the mixture to form a porridge-like consistency.
4.) Continue adding the maize flour a little at a time while pressing to the sides of the saucepan to remove any lumps.
5.) If there are no more lumps stop stirring and let it cook for about ten minutes.
6.) At this point the mixture has become firm. Stir with the wooden spoon again and let it cook for a further three to five minutes.
7.) Form the mixture into a round shape by bringing together the dough from the sides of the saucepan to the mixture. Transfer to a flat plate by turning the saucepan over on top of the plate.
8.) If need be, the ugali can be cut into smaller chunks.
You should allow the ugali to cool down for about two minutes before you start eating because it is usually pretty hot.
Most Kenyans eat using their hands by pinching a handful amount and using it to scoop vegetables. If the ugali is being eaten with a stew like omena, beans or vegetable soup, the ugali can be eaten using a spoon.