Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tanzania Tuesday #4

Ugali with sukuma wiki; photo from With Love, From Africa

Ugali (oo-GAH-lee) is a stiff porridge, usually made of corn, and its the main ingredient of the menu for 90 percent of Tanzanians. Because it is not expensive, people can usually afford something to go with it (meat, beans, or spinach), and so they can be sure of one satisfying and fairly balanced meal each day. The cook starts with the raw grain and pounds it in a mortar before making it into a thick paste with a little water. Then it is added to a large pot of boiling water and boiled until it thickens to form a thick dough. The cook needs a strong arm and a sturdy spoon at this stage. The cooked ugali can be eaten hot, or may be left to cool and then cut into slices and fried. Another method is to make holes in the warm ugali with a small ladle and till these with soup or meat. That way both stay warm longer.

In southern Africa ugali is known as "mealie-meal". In Zimbabwe it is called "sadzo", and in West Africa, it is known as "banku". 

Although it is usually made from corn, ugali can also be made from cassava, millet, or sorghum.

1 liter of water, or water and milk to make it creamier
2 ounces of butter or margarine
1 pound corn flour

Mix half the flour and about a quarter of the water in a bowl with a wooden spoon until it is a smooth paste. Boil the rest of the water with the butter and a pinch of salt, and then add the paste, stirring steadily for at least a minute and bringing it back to a boil. Then add the rest of the flour a little at a time while you keep stirring. You will understand how strong Tanzanian cooks must be! Keep stirring until the mixture has turned into a stiff dough. (You can add a little more flour or water if necessary. The mixture should not stick to the pot.)

Source: Jay Heale & Willie Wong, Cultures of the World: Tanzania. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2009.

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