Muffins recipes

National dish of Kenya

flag of Kenya

  • Independence: 12. 12. 1964
  • Capital: Nairobi
  • Official language: Kiswahili, English
  • Population: 44 354 000
  • Area: 581 309 km2
  • International code: KE
  • Currency: Kenyan shilling (KES)
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  • 4 cups finely ground cornmeal (If you can find the kind that is so finely ground as to be like flour, grab it!!)
  • 8 cups water
Ugali is national food (dish) of Kenya


Heat water to boiling in a saucepan. Slowly pour the corn flour into boiling water. Avoid forming lumps. Stir continuously and mash any lumps that do form. Add more corn flour until it is thicker than mashed potatoes. Cook for three or four minutes, continue to stir. (Continuing to stir as the ugali thickens is the secret to success, i.e., lump-free ugali.) Top with a pat of butter or margarine, if desired. Cover and keep warm. Serve immediately with any meat or vegetable stew, or any dish with a sauce or gravy.


Ugali (also sometimes called sima, sembe or posho) is a dish of maize flour (cornmeal) cooked with water to a porridge- or dough-like consistency. It is the most common staple starch featured in the local cuisines of the eastern African Great Lakes region and Southern Africa. When ugali is made from another starch, it is usually given a specific regional name. The traditional method of eating ugali (and the most common in the rural areas) is to roll a lump into a ball with the right hand, and then dip it into a sauce or stew of vegetables and/or meat. Making a depression with the thumb allows the ugali to be used to scoop, and to wrap around pieces of meat to pick them up in the same way that flat bread is used in other cultures. Ugali is relatively inexpensive and is thus easily accessible to the poor who usually combine it with a vegetable stew (e.g. sukuma wiki in Kenya) or meat stews and makes a filling meal. Ugali is easy to make and the flour can last for considerable time in average conditions. Maize from which the flour is obtained is hardy and will grow reliably in dry seasons. For these reasons, ugali is an important part of the diet of millions of people of Sub Saharan Africa.

Kenyan cuisine started to gain more and more popularity, due to the numbers of dishes brought by immigrants. From different reasons, it can be stated that Kenyan cuisine is an indigenous one. The African name for corn is mealie and it is used in making the soft mush and batters which represent nowadays a characteristic of African and American southern foods. Fufu, which was brought to American continent by Nigerian slaves, is a stiff cornmeal or yam mush, directly related to southern spoonbreads and cornmeal. Also, cassava and yams are main root vegetables. Some African inspired foods are: stew with or without meat, mixtures of hot spices with root vegetables, and steamed greens. In Africa, peanuts are called groundnuts and feature in many dishes from a garnish to Peanut soups. Also, melon, especially watermelon are also very popular in Kenya. Kenyan recipes include fish marinated in tomatoes, ginger, and cayenne. Another specific African ingredient is okra, which is used in many dishes to thicken stews and soups. Other important ingredients are tropical fruits, especially bananas or coconuts. Among other dishes, Kenyan cuisine contains pilau rice with Beef stew, which can be prepared thus: first of all, in order to prepare Beef, you need Beef steak cut into bite size cubes, 2 carrots, 2 green peppers, 4 small onions, 4 medium tomatoes, black pepper, oil, salt, and curry powder; you fry the onions, then add green peppers, tomatoes and carrots, cooking slightly for three minutes at a high temperature while stirring constantly; the meat has to be seasoned with seasoning salt and then added in when the carrots are soft enough; then you season with black pepper and curry powder. It is served hot with pilau which can be prepared using the following method: you boil 1/2 cups of vegetable broth in a large pan, adding salt and masala which is an Indian spice mix; then you heat the oil, add one sliced medium Onion, and 4 tomatoes which have to be fried until they are real soft; after this you add the seasoned broth and immediately add in the rice; when the liquid begins to boil again, add green or sweet peas, reduce the heat, cover and cook until the rice is soft. It is always served hot and you can also add cilantro.

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