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Ugali! What is it, and how do you eat it?

Ugali is a type of cornmeal porridge that is a staple food in Tanzania, as well as in other countries in East Africa such as Kenya and Uganda. To make ugali, cornmeal is mixed with water to create a thick, dough-like consistency, and then it is cooked over high heat until it forms a solid mass.




In Tanzania, ugali is traditionally eaten with the hands, and it is considered proper etiquette to use only the right hand for this purpose. To eat ugali with your hands, you would tear off a small piece of the ugali and roll it into a ball, using your thumb and fingers to shape it. You can then use the ugali ball to scoop up other foods, such as stewed vegetables or meat, and eat them together.


Understandably, eating with your hands will cause them to get a bit dirty. It is customary to wash your hands before and after eating, using water and soap or a water and ash mixture. Using utensils, such as forks or spoons, is not as common but it is generally acceptable in most situations.


Ugali is often served with a variety of dishes, such as stews made with meat, fish, or vegetables, as well as with beans, peas, or other protein-rich foods. It is a very versatile food that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it is a good source of carbohydrates and other essential nutrients.


When eating with others, it is considered polite to wait until everyone has been served before starting to eat. It is also common for people to share their food, and it is considered a sign of generosity and hospitality to offer some of your food to others.

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