I’m annoyed this evening.
Guys we can differ on so many things. We can differ on Uhurunomics, and Railanomics. We can differ on football, whether Wenger was great or not. We can differ on which is the best whiskey, which is the best holiday resort and all. But one thing we should never differ on, or compromise is Ugali.
I have said here before, the only place that serves well-cooked ugali is Kosewe, and any backstreet joint ran by Luos or Kisiis.
Every other establishment serves undercooked, messy podgy of stuff in the name of ugali.
As a rule I only eat ugali at my place, unless when I have to, and I am perpetually underwhelmed.
Ugali for screaming out loud is our staple diet. Especially the Western Bantus, Luos and Tesos.
Among my people a woman who cannot cook ugali, will be divorced on the first day. We don’t compromise on that. Word spreads fast about a woman who can’t cook ugali.
It is insulting the potions of ugali they serve. Along with lodging soaps, the ugali scoops an average restaurants serves is capitalism gone wrong.
We are not wazungus who watch their diet. We are Africans. We eat to our fill. But bad ugali for a man from western Kenya cannot be rescued with the best barbeque or vegetables cooked with Blue Band.
I think we need standards as Bitange Ndemo once said. African restaurants have no standards absolutely. That is why I can say a certain restaurant is good, only for you guys to flood in my comments that restaurant is crap.
Now, I can even take a machine to cook ugali, if I have to.
Ugali while a simple meal, has arcane intricacies of preparation.
Back the village, the grain has to dry completely. You dry it in the sun for a whole week, and if it rains midweek, interrupting the flow, you start afresh. Once it is dry, it has to be taken to the best posho mill in the town centre. A bad posho mill is often avoided like plague. Good mothers and responsible wives, know the best texture of flour for ugali. In Nairobi we make do with packets and Hostess is still the best, the reason it is so freaking expensive.
When cooking ugali, the water has to boil. And boil properly. Then you put some amount of flour to make it porridge like and let it simmer. Give it time. Simmering is an important stage, the distinction between well-cooked ugali and badly cooked ugali. Simmering is what saves a marriage and a wife from a potential divorce. Simmering is what will make in-laws respect a newly married wife. Let it simmer, stirring ever so lightly until it settles.
When pouring flour, pour gradually, depending on how hard you want the ugali to be in the end. But be tactful.
As you pour, you have to squeeze, knead, turn it over as fast as possible for the flour to mix and gel and remove any lingering lumps. Turn it over as several as possible until you have a lump. At this stage, now let the ugali cook. Let it interact with the fire. Lower the fire ever so slightly, to make the interaction to work properly. Turn it over from time to time. But let it cook. Check your whatsapp messages. Tune into Facebook. Do anything. Cut the accountrements for vegetables. Be busy. But let the ugali cook, turrning it from time to time. Until the sufuria starts to burn, and the smell of ugali can be “heard” in your neighbourhood.
Maybe what we need is an Ugali certification institute.
Guys can you name and shame restaurants that serve us bad ugali. Especially it does not meet the Western Kenya standards?
Your grandma, should be the yardstick.