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Simple and satisfying, this cornmeal porridge from Kenya, called Ugali,
is the perfect accompaniment to soups, stews, and savory curries.
I’m amazed at how many versions of cornmeal porridge exist in the world! Once upon a time, I thought Italian polenta was it – but, noooo – there are delicious and unique versions throughout Europe, the Americas, and even Africa. Who knew that humble corn would make such a mark across the globe!
This version, called ugali, comes from my friend, fellow Food Revolution ambassador, and cookbook contributor, Sandra Mukidza, of Nairobi, Kenya. And it happens to pair perfectly with her rich and hardy Kenyan Beef Curry (grab the Kenyan Beef Curry recipe HERE). Yumm!
- 2 cups water
- 1½ cups medium or coarse-ground cornmeal (white is traditional, but yellow works fine)
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium sauce pan.
- Reduce the heat to low, and stirring constantly with a whisk, slowly add the cornmeal to the boiling water. The ugali will begin to thicken quite quickly.
- Continue cooking on low heat, stirring every minute or so with a sturdy wooden spoon, until the ugali begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and hold together, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn it out immediately onto a serving plate. If you would like, using a spoon or spatula, quickly shape it into a thick disk or round.
- The ugali will continue to firm as it cools, and will be thick enough to cut with a knife (similar to firm polenta).
- Serve it up with your favorite savory stew or curry.
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