Ugali & Sukuma Wiki

“What’s for dinner mom?” came two voices, as my boys burst through the door after football practice.  “Ugali and Sukuma Wiki,” was my reply and that instantly got their attention.

Vyonnah, our guest from Kenya, was making us dinner.  We were eating the traditional African dish made from cornmeal and water.  When visiting Zimbabwe, we ate this staple known as Sudza.  In South Africa, it was called Mealie Pap.  Now we were eating Ugali.  No matter what the name, it was a dinner we were looking forward to.

The boys watched as Vyonnah expertly shaved the greens for Sukuma Wiki.  They both love to chop veggies and were very impressed with her knife skills.  When she went to work on the cornmeal it was obvious this was something she did on a daily basis back home.

Setting the table that night was easy… no silverware, we ate with our hands.  Vyonnah showed us how to make the ugali into a ball and combine it with the greens to make bite-sized morsels.  After a few bites with the greens the boys got creative dipping their ugali into ketchup and salsa.  I actually like mine with butter and maple syrup.

This Kenyan dinner was easy to prepare and we had all the ingredients handy.  Try surprising your family with a traditional African meal that is not only packed with whole grains and vitamins but may turn them on to a new favorite side dish.

To make the Ugali, simply follow the directions on the package for polenta or cornmeal porridge.  You want the ugali to be thick so reduce the water by 25%.

To make the Sukuma Wiki, clean and roll up a large bunch of chard, kale, mustard greens or spinach.  Slice as thin as possible.  In a medium sauce pan, saute onions until soft.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Dice 1-2 tomatoes and add to onions.  Saute 1-2 more minutes.  Add shaved greens and cook, covered 5-10 minutes or until greens reach desired consistency.  Add any additional spices such as red pepper flakes, corriander or cayenne pepper.

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