Comfort food across the world
“Ugali is a maize-meal bread-like food mostly eaten alongside chicken or beef stew, Kenyan kale and cabbage or sometimes eggs fried with onions and tomatoes. All you need to make it is water and flour, though some people use salt to make it tasty. It’s consumed by almost everybody in Kenya: we call it energy-giving food.”
Wyclif Ochieng of Kenya participated in Mennonite Central Committee’s International Visitor Exchange Program (IVEP) in Telford, Pennsylvania, USA, 2016–2017. When he made this comfort food for his host family, he discovered it is similar to “grits” his host mom grew up with in the southern state of Georgia.
“Ugali is soft, but – unlike grits – you can grab it with you fingers, mould it in your hand and make something like a scoop from it for the stew or sauce you are eating. My host family liked it so much. After eating ugali for dinner, you feel very full and head to bed straight away; that would be the best night.”
Pour the same number of cups of water in a saucepan as the number of people to be served.
Heat until the water reaches the boiling point.
Add flour bit by bit in the boiling water and stir it make a porridge-like solution.
Make sure the heat is moderated for a good result.
Depending on how soft or hard you want it to be, that will determine the amount of flour you add.
Let it cook for about 10 minutes.
Now your ugali is ready to eat. Use your thumb to make a hole (we call it othonje) for scooping.
—A Mennonite World Conference release. Wyclif Ochieng is a member of Kisumu East Diocese Songhor of the Kenya Mennonite Church. He was the Kenya Mennonite Church delegate at the Global Youth Summit 2015 and continues to support the work of the MWC YABs committee.