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How to prepare the delicious African dish, Ugali with Beef Stew.

Photo by: Sylvano Mbatu for

In East Africa, it’s known as Ugali or sima; in West Africa, it’s called Fufu, and in parts of Southern Africa, it’s referred to as Pap. This beloved staple food is found across the diverse continent, known by various names. Its origins are unknown, but due to its benefits for the human body, Ugali or Sima has remained one of the most cherished staple foods in Africa, particularly among the hardworking people who labour daily to provide food for their families. Today, I will guide you through the preparation of this renowned dish.


Before beginning to cook, make sure you have these ingredients prepared: maize or corn flour, water, meat, fish or chicken, tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell pepper, lemon, salt, and any other spices you prefer.

Some enjoy accompanying their beef, fish, or chicken stew with a variety of vegetables. Regardless of the choice, each combination promises a delightful culinary experience.


Let’s begin by preparing the beef stew.

Dice the meat into small pieces, then rinse it under water. Discard the rinsing water and replace it with fresh water. Season with salt and vinegar, then place the pot on the stove to boil until the meat is tender. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion, tomatoes, garlic, bell pepper, and green pepper. Once the meat is tender, stir in some cooking oil, the chopped vegetables, and simmer covered for about 10 minutes on medium heat.

Beef chopped into small pieces. Photo by: Sylvano Mbatu
Onion, Garlic, pepper chopped into small pieces ready for frying the meat. Lemon also ready for seasoning. Photo by: Sylvano Mbatu.
Onion, Garlic, pepper chopped into small pieces ready for frying the meat. Lemon also ready for seasoning. Photo: Sylvano Mbatu.

After ten minutes, add the lemon juice to the mixture, followed by seasonings such as Royco, Beef Masala, and salt, along with a bit of water. Cover it with a lid and allow it to simmer for another ten minutes until it’s ready.

Once the beef stew is prepared, it’s time to make the ugali. Boil one cup of water in a separate pot. As it begins to boil, gradually add small amounts of maize/corn flour while stirring. Continue this process until the mixture thickens. Keep stirring until the dough is smooth and firm. Then cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer for approximately five minutes before transferring the ugali from the pot to a plate.

Then, serve the beef stew in a separate bowl or on a plate, and cut the ugali into small pieces for convenient consumption.

Serve both dishes while they are still hot.

Ugali and beef stew ready for our guests. Photo: Sylvano Mbatu.

How to eat Ugali

Ugali and beef stew are a perfect match. It is recommended to eat them with your hands rather than with forks. Take small pieces of the ugali, dip them into the beef stew, and eat them directly. Enhance the experience by including pieces of beef with the ugali as you dip it into the stew. This dish can also be paired with vegetables, fruits, or a beverage such as juice or water.

Bon appetit!

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