Ugali (also sometimes called sima or posho) is a cornmeal product and a staple starch component of many African meals, especially in Southern and East Africa. It is generally made from maize flour (or ground maize) and water, and varies in consistency from porridge to a dough-like substance. When ugali is made from another starch, it is usually given a specific regional name.
The traditional method of eating ugali as a main course (and the most common in the rural areas) is to roll a lump into a ball, 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 can also be eaten with a spoon or a knife and fork.
Ugali is inexpensive to make and the flour can last for considerable time in average conditions. Also, the crop that produce the corn flour will grow reliably in poor seasons. For these reasons, ugali is an important part of the diet of millions of Africans.
Ugali is similar to foufou from West Africa, pap from South Africa, polenta from Italy and grits from the southern United States. It is often served as a part of traditional African meals.
In Uganda, ugali has several regional names including "posho". In Kenya it is known as ugali in Kiswahili and ngima in Kikuyu. In Zambia it's called nshima, nsima in Malawi, sadza in Zimbabwe and pap in South Africa.
Similarity with other African and Afro-Caribbean foodsIn South Africa, cornmeal mush is a staple food called mealie pap; elsewhere in Southern Africa it is called sadza, in Zimbabwe, and nshima, in Zambia, and "Oshifima" or Pap in Namibia. In East Africa a similar dish is called ugali, named from the Swahili language. Fufu, a starch-based food from West and Central Africa, may also be made from maize meal. In the Caribbean, similar dishes are cou-cou (Barbados), funchi (Curaçao) and funjie (Virgin Islands). It is known as funche in Puerto Rican cuisine and mayi moulin in Haitian cuisine. It is also known as kuon in Luo
ugali in German: Ugali
ugali in Swahili (macrolanguage): Ugali
ugali in Japanese: ウガリkuon