Ugali, Tanzania staple food made from Maize

Ugali is not new to many countries, Italians do eat something almost the same as Ugali known as polenta, which is much softer than ugali, but use course flour. In Angola, Ugali is known as funji, which is much softer than Tanzanian Ugali. West African countries do it ugali using cassava, banana and potato flour just like in Tanzania, but use different name. This is Tanzanian staple food.

  • cup semolina flower or white maize flower
  • cup cold water


  1. In a pot, mix ½ cup of semolina flour with cold water.
  2. Cook in medium heat using a whisker to mix often while adding 1 ½
    cup of boiling water. Continue whisking until the mixture starts to boil.
  3. Lower the heat and let the mixture boil for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Increase heat to medium and add the remaining semolina flour about
    2 tbsp per time, mixing it well with the whisker. When the mixture
    acquires a heavy consistency, use a wooden spoon. Continue
    cooking, and stirring, for five more minutes or until cooked.

Serve as a side dish with meat and vegetable.
I fisrt post this recipe at year 2007.

  18 comments for “Ugali

  1. Neto Machota
    January 6, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    i real like ugali especially prepared by using unpolished flour (DONA) this is because it contains all nutrients found in maize although many people like polished flour (SEMBE) because it is soft than DONA

  2. Gilbert
    September 14, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    I have tried ugali in Tanzania a few times and never really understood what so special about it that locals love to eat it everyday. It’s tasteless. I see swahilis are now eating chips, so why not try pasta or mash potatoes too? I guess swahilis are simple people that are happy with their same-old simple food.

    • September 24, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      Ugali is tasteless for someone who is not born eating it. But you can add cream and it will be very good.

      Mingi Love

  3. kirimo
    June 9, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Interesting in Zambia its called shima.As a bantu I recognize this name because other bantu cultures have a similar name for it. For example the coastal bantus of kenya call it sima, the kikuyu of kenya ngima, luhya of kenya obusuma interestingly the kikuyu word kima means ”to mash” so perhaps ugali is a very old food that ancestors of the bantus have eaten from time imemorial.

    • June 15, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      Dear Kirimo,
      I have had many different names of this recipe from different parts of Africa. It is nice to see that there are some recipe that we all share in Africa. Thanks for your contribution to the comments

  4. November 29, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    Oh I love Ugali, especially with maize flour and this is exactly how i make mine.

  5. Diane
    July 14, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    I am married to a Tanzanian man. I’m learning to cook some good food for my husband.

  6. December 7, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    I see you cook it just like me – it goes so well with nyama choma with salt. yum!

  7. November 12, 2009 at 4:40 AM

    i real like ugali nyama choma,and ugali is my best food

  8. Amina
    November 9, 2009 at 12:30 AM

    I real appreciate you, i real like ugali with fried small fishes (dagaa)

  9. September 24, 2009 at 8:44 PM

    Kay dear,
    Welcome, all the time. Thanks.

    • manal
      June 5, 2011 at 2:55 PM

      so semolina flour is unga wa mahindi right of ugali?

  10. Kay
    September 24, 2009 at 7:09 PM

    I love this website. I get all my recipes from here. Good job!

    • Malcolm
      April 3, 2012 at 3:18 AM

      I love ugali too, it is called Nshima in Zambia but the same thing, I think the italian polenta is made from yellow maize flour and is more like a bread

Comments are closed.