Nigerian Ugali

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Nigerian Ugali

(Photo Attributed to Author: Tim Cowley)

If you are fond of Nigerian cuisine, you simply must serve some Nigerian Ugali with the meals. This tasty, doughy and grainy corn meal mash is a favorite accompaniment to almost any meal, for Nigerians and also Kenyans. In fact, lots of African countries will have ugali in their diets – including my wife’s homeland of Ghana.

Nigerian Ugali is, much like banku, fufu, and kenkye, a sort of “edible utensil”.  You pick a lump of the mash up, mold it into a soft cup-like shape, dip it into the stew, or use it to scoop up the meat or vegetable dish being served. Then the whole delightful morsel gets popped into your mouth.

And ugali is certainly the most easy Nigerian food recipe you will ever come across. It’s a snap to make, and a wonderful treat to eat.

Nigerian Ugali Recipe-


(serves 2 – keep the same proportions for more or less ugali you want to make)

  • 1 cup of Ugali Flour (a special African, coarse grain, white cornmeal)
  • 1-1/2 cups of water, plus a little more
  1. In an appropriately sized cooking rate pot, bring the water to a vigorous boil and stir in the corn meal. Keep stirring continuously until a thick dough starts to form.
  2. Now add a little more water, reduce the heat to very low, and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Raise the heat up to high again and, with a wooden ladle, stir vigorously until your dough is smooth. You may find you will have to mash it toward the sides of the pot, and also and flip the forming ball of ugali over a few times. Keep doing this stirring, mashing and flipping until you have a firm large mound of doughy mash.
  4. Remove the pot from the burner, allow to cool just enough to handle, and serve your Nigerian Ugali while still nice and warm. Goes great with stews, meats and fish dishes, vegetables, just about any African meal tastes great with ugali. Place it in a large serving bowl for everyone to pick lumps out of, or you can provide each person with their own ball of ugali – about the size of a small fist is considered an appropriate sized serving.

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