Ugali = Cornmeal Mush

Ugali = Cornmeal Mush

Rating: 31


  • 1 quart water
  • 1 tea spoon salt
  • 1 cup white cereal (e.g. farina)


  • In a 2-quart saucepan:
  • Boil rapidly 1 quart WATER or CHICKEN BROTH.
  • Add: 1 tsp. SALT and
  • Swirl the cereal into the boiling water and cook according to package directions
  • to a thick heavy mush.
  • Keep warm over hot water (in a double boiler) until ready to serve.


Serving: Put in a big glass or plastic bowl then cover with a big plate. Turn upside down so that 'ugali' whic is now bowl shaped gets in the plate. Take a smaller dish and press on the top of 'ugali' to form a hole. Pour coconut cream red kidney beans or tapioca leaves, or duckling into the hole and serve. Usually every one eats together. In case some one wants to eat separately, serve a portion of 'ugali' in their plate and pour any of the above mentioned soups onto it.

Notes: One of the foods most frequently used in both East and West Africa is a mush or gruel made by pounding fresh corn and squeezing out the cornstarch. When it is cooked in boiling water to a gruel consistency and used as a breakfast cereal it is called Uji (Ogi, in West Africa). When it is cooked to a thicker consistency, so that it can easily be rolled into a ball, it is called Ugali (Agidi in West Africa). As a substitute you can use cornmeal grits or buckwheat grits. Africans in our country use any fine white cereal such as Farina or Cream of Wheat. These cereals are surprisingly tasty when served with meat and poultry gravies. Stone- ground white cornmeal can be purchased in specialty food shops. For added flavor, try cooking cornmeal grits, farina, or any cereal in chicken or beef stock instead of water. The cereals absorb the flavor of the stock and make an excellent accompaniment for meats. Rice and couscous, that wonderful semolina grain used so abundantly in North Africa, are delicious when prepared in this way. In Swahili any thick mush is called Ugali. There is a light Ugali made with cornmeal flour and there is a dark Ugali made with millet flour, and often groundnuts (peanuts) are ground in with the mush.