This is such an easy recipe. Perfect for lunch, a light supper and an easy way to get some veggies in the kids. Quick, delicious, filling and you can use up those forlorn looking vegetables in the fridge.
Assemble your ingredients.
Drain your pasta when ready and add to the vegetables in the pan, add some of the pasta water to ensure it does not dry out too much.
Auto correct kept changing ‘ugali’ to ‘ugly’. WTH?
Ugali is one of the region’s staple meals. It is easy to cook, uses only two ingredients (maize flour and water) and goes with just about anything. Ugali is more commonly known as posho here in Uganda. It is a hearty meal that can be made by just about anyone. Well, almost everyone.
I have a love hate relationship with ugali to be honest. I love eating it, cooking it, not so much. If I had to compete in ugali making I would fail miserably in the first round. I’d be like those guys whose ridiculous audition clips provide much needed humour in the final rounds of a competition.
Nevertheless, I make ugali at least once a week. If I had my way, we would have it more often but oh well. Let’s not push it. So Ugali, boil your water, add the flour bit by bit until it’s a stiff mash and mix well with a wooden spoon till it stiffens and ‘smells’ cooked, takes about 15 minutes, right? I am open to suggestions of how long ugali should be cooked btw *insert shrug*
I usually cover it and let it steam in between turning it well. How to tell its ready though? I do a taste test. Some people recommend taking a small piece and fling it to the wall to test for readiness. Like the old spaghetti test. I do not know if it works though. LOL.
The most common way to serve ugali is with greens (spinach, kale, traditional greens) and a nice protein option; beef, fish, chicken, eggs, goat meat etc.
This is still a work in progress for me. But I don’t let it stop me from enjoying eating it!
What are your tips for making your ugali stand out?
We often take kids for granted when moving or making life decisions in general. We expect them to just fall into place and adapt like little dutiful followers. Bad idea.
I remember when we changed houses some years ago. On one of the first nights, my daughter asked when we would be going back to the old house.My son on the other hand, asked if anyone will ever come to ask us to leave. Keep in mind both houses were in the same compound!
That is when we realised our mistake; we did not involve them in the move. Sure enough, they had packed what they could and had even picked out the paint colours and designs for their rooms, but we did not TALK to them about it. It was a bad assumption on our part that they could figure out what was going on.
When making the move to Kampala, we decided not to make the same mistake. Luckily we had been here before to visit some friends so they were a bit familiar with the place. Funnily enough, my son kept on saying he wants to live in Uganda then; little did we know his wish would come true a few months later.
So how then does one prepare kids for a move?
First, talk about it with them. Sit down as a family and tell them.
Listen to them too, and let them ask questions about the move. Obviously you have to use child/ age friendly language so that it is not intimidating to them. And try your best to answer them truthfully and in a friendly manner.
Anxiety is natural, but try to address their fears by talking to them about the positives of the move; focus on the good. But also be realistic about the fact that things may not fit into place perfectly at first. It will take time for all of you to adjust.
Remember it is natural for them to feel upset. They are leaving behind all that is familiar to them; their home, school, familiar places, family and friends. It is hard for them too. You can show them pictures of the new place too if it’s already organised so it can be familiar to them. Or even learn fun and interesting facts about the place you’re moving to.
It is very important to listen and observe their response to the news of the move. Some kids may not be willing to talk about it, but observe how they play with their toys and listen to them as they talk to each other. I have found this very important in understanding how my children think and their understanding of how the world works.
Let them pick out and pack their favorite toys, books or any keepsakes that they treasure; It is will make them feel a bit more comfortable and grounded as they have a feel of the familiar in a new place.
It is not easy for both you and them. I learnt and practiced A LOT of patience when we moved. But having a routine helped immensely. Not a rigid one but one where they know ‘what happens when’ so they do not get bored fast.
We were also lucky to get a good school through recommendation of some friends whose kids are in the same school. Go for orientation with them, let them see the school, the classes, the playground, dining hall, pool, and meet their teachers if possible. Don’t wait till the day they have to report.
We had a few weeks before they had to report to the new school. Story books, games, toys, movies and tablets came in handy at that time. Plus a lot of outings and outdoor play as the weather here is lovely. The best thing about kids is they are so creative and can play with anything they come across, and their imagination is still so fertile and vivid. Just make sure they are safe.
Constant communication with family and friends who are no longer near is also very important. Organise a WhatsApp video call with an old neighbourhood or school friend and let the kids catch up with each other. Trust me, it is such a delight for them!
Those months together with them have also worked out to our advantage during these quarantine times. It has been fun coming up with a routine with them that we are all comfortable with.
I do not bake much here as I have a temperamental oven that I am yet to fully understand.
But there are times when the bread craving kicks in so bad and you just have to give in. Lucky for me I came across a simple but tasty recipe from A Kitchen in Uganda, find the recipe here. She has other amazing recipes that I have been trying out bit by bit over the years.
I did not change the recipe much; used grated carrot, onion and some chives as I didn’t have green pepper at the time.
The bread is quite fluffy and delicious, and a hit with the kids. I will be sure to try it out again too and be more attentive. LOL.
We had them for a midweek dinner with some mince meat stew.
l learnt a tip the other day, add a tablespoon of water in your mince before you cook, mixing well. The mince absorbs the water as it breaks down hence no big chunks when cooking. I tried it in this recipe and it works.
I didn’t use many spices here just I tsp ginger and garlic, crushed, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp Dhana jeera powder, salt and pepper to taste.
This is a perfect midweek supper meal that’s quite easy to put together and a pleasant change from usual pasta and rice for the mince meat stew.
Matoke, matooke or green bananas. Bananas people, not plantains. Yes, there is a difference. Here is a good explanation. Matoke aka green bananas are a popular dish in East Africa and each region has their own special way of making them. Here in Uganda, tooke is mostly steamed in banana leaves and served in groundnut sauce, with vegetables or meat. Or as a breakfast dish called “katogo” which is stewed bananas with vegetables or offal. Very yummy. In Tanzania, it is made into a porridge for breastfeeding mums and even as a beer in some parts of the country. In Kenya, it is mostly stewed with potatoes, vegetables and beef or goat meat.
I have fond memories of my mother making Kenyan style matoke as a weekday meal. Think we had it on Tuesdays or Thursdays, can’t remember clearly. LOL
This is my attempt at making it and though I cannot replicate her recipe, I can perfect my own right? Let’s get started.
List of ingredients
250 g beef, chopped and boiled, set aside with its broth.
Green bananas about 16 small pieces.
1kg Irish potatoes (optional)
I green capsicum (pilipili hoho)
I tbsp tomato paste
Two large tomatoes
1 bunch coriander
1 medium courgette
Four cloves garlic
Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
Ground spices ; turmeric, ground cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste
Green bananas are not the easiest to peel, as they leave a slimy, sticky residue on your hands and your knife. You can wear gloves if you want, or apply some vaseline on your palms before peeling them. Or peel them under running water.
A lot of people add the potatoes and bananas together. I did not as the potatoes take longer to cook and I do not want the bananas to get mushy.
You do not have to add meat or even boil the beef, you can fry it directly and use other spices. You can even use peanut butter, coconut milk, whatever you fancy when making this dish YOUR way.