Muffins recipes

National dish of Tanzania

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  • Independence: 25. 4. 1977
  • Capital: Dodoma
  • Official language: Kiswahili, English
  • Population: 44 928 923
  • Area: 945 203 km2
  • International code: TZ
  • Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TZS)
map of Tanzania



  • 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 Tanzania


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.

Ugali is a traditional, yet very simple dish which is served with most of the meat dishes all around Tanzania, but not only. Ugali is basically a cornmeal mush, which is made by pounding fresh corn and squeezing out the cornstarch. Ugali also has a breakfast version (used a cereal), called uji or ogi in Western Africa. Ugali can be made of cornmeal grits, buckwheat grits, but in Tanzania, ugali is made of farina or cream of Wheat. couscous is also prepared in Northern America as an ugali and it is boiled in Chicken or beef broth and served with any kind of meat. In Swahili all the thicker mush are called ugali. Depending on the region, there is light ugali made with cornmeal flour and there is a darker ugali made with millet flour, but also peanuts. In Zanzibar, all guests are given cloves to chew before the main meal. Other interesting customs, which have religious bases belonging to different regional groups, say that women shouldn’t eat eggs or Chicken or that men and women shouldn’t eat together at the table or that men should never enter the kitchen. The Masaai people eat only meat, animal blood, animal fat, tree bark and honey – still, recently, they also included grains in their diet.

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