Mwiko (cooking stick)
'Ugali' - This is the 'bread' that goes hand in hand with other side or vegetable dishes. It is very popular in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.) 60% of that population consume it as a staple (main)food item. The further away you go from Kenya, the more the variations of the same 'bread' by way of name, ingredients and preparation.
You need -
- Plain white corn meal (flour)
- Cooking stick (called 'mwiko' in Kenya)
Add equal parts of both water and flour. Two cups of each caters for one adult. Assuming we are cooking 'ugali' for 4 adults:
- Add 8 cups of water to a pot and bring to a boil.
- Add 4 cups of flour and turn the heat to medium.
Allow to cook for 3 to 4 mins. Cover mix as it will start popping bubbles after 1 min of boiling. Take off lid and use the cooking stick to stir in the flour as it starts to harden.
- Add the rest of the flour half a cup at a time as you continue to stir it in as the mix hardens. Be careful not to add too much flour that cannot effectively mix. If you have a consistent pasty mix, stop adding flour. You may need to add flour only one tablespoonful at a time
- Get ready for a little work out. Be sure to be able to grab the pot handle real good, with one hand.
The goal is to get a good consistent paste/mix with the flour using the cooking stick in the other hand. Not too hard, not too soft. Keep mixing making sure to get to the bottom of the pot as the mix will tend
to stick. At intervals, allow to cook for 30 seconds to one minute at a time, not any longer. Keep doing this until you can smell a distinct cooked corn aroma and you have a consistent paste without dry flour ball in the mix. You can push down on the flour balls and crush them as you work the flour mix better. You can also crush the flour balls against the inside wall of the pot, around and around. Your total cook time is approximately 10 mins. Look out for the aroma. Phew! You are done!
- Get a medium-sized plate. Turn off heat source. Cover your pot with the plate bottom up. Keep your hand on the plate bottom.
Turn your pot downside up and your ugali should drop into the plate on your hand.
- Run some cold water over your cooking stick. Holding one side of the plate, use the wet stick to shape the ugali into a dome (upside down bowl) shape.
Use the same hot cooking pot to cover the ugali so that it stays hot and moist while you set the dinner table ready to serve.
- Be sure to soak the cooking stick and pot in water promptly for ease of cleaning later. When ugali hardens it can become a real chore to clean.
- Ugali is normally eaten with bare hands so be sure to wash your hands. Use any type of knife to cut the ugali. Soak the knife later too. Enjoy!
Ugali is popular hot with stewed meats, fish, beans and green vegetables of all sorts. Cold with hot tea in some communities as a breakfast item, especially leftover from the previous day!
Hope you enjoyed my Ugali recipe.
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Words to the Wise
"When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful."
Proverbs 29:18 (NLT)