• Water — 4 cups
  • Salt — 1 teaspoon
  • White cornmeal, finely ground — 2 cups


  1. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the cornmeal slowly, letting it fall though the fingers of your hand.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue stirring regularly, smashing any lumps with a spoon, until the mush pulls away from the sides of the pot and becomes very thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool somewhat.
  3. Place the ugali into a large serving bowl. Wet your hands with water, form into a ball and serve.


  • White cornmeal is the most commonly used grain for ugali. But you can substitute sorghum, millet or coarse cassava flour or even hominy grits.
  • More or less water can be added to achieve the consistency you prefer. Most Africans would not salt the water, so you can leave the salt out if you wish.
  • Stir in a little butter for richer flavor.