The national dish of Tanzania is Ugali na Maharage ya nazi (Maize meal with beans cooked in coconut milk). Why not make it on December 9 when Tanzania celebrates their independence day. Here’s what our country chef Aika-Grace says about the national dish of Tanzania:
Ugali is a basic staple eaten across several African countries. It only differs in name and consistency (hard or soft). It is very simple to make, you will need a pot and flat wooden spoon. Cooking kidney beans in coconut is one of the tastiest ways to enjoy them. It is a very simple recipe that does not require anything special.
Recipe: The national dish of Tanzania - Ugali na Maharage ya nazi
- 1 l water
- 300 g maize flour use grade A
- 500 g kidney beans rinsed and drained canned beans
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 onions
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 large carrot
- 250 ml coconut milk
Ugali (make in parallel to Maharage)
- In a pot, warm the water on high heat for about 3 minutes. Do not boil.
- Add half of the flour and stir it in with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until it thickens and becomes porridge. It should be bubbling.
- Once you’ve reached this consistency, cover the pot and leave it to cook for 4 minutes on medium heat.
- Take the pot off the heat and add the rest of the flour. Stir it in with the wooden spoon (you can do this in portions). As you mix in the rest of the flour it will become harder, almost like play dough, continue to mould it until all the flour is mixed in, and mash all the lumps.
- Spread it flat at the bottom of the pot as much as possible, cover, and put back on the fire on medium heat
- After 4 minutes, open the pot and turn the mixture one the other side. Cover and put back on the heat. Repeat this step twice.
- Mould it in the middle of the pot into a nice round shape, and place on a serving dish.
Maharage (make in parallel to Ugali)
- Dice the tomatoes, carrot and onions
- In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion and stir.
- When the onions begin to become light brown, add the tomatoes. Stir and mash them in.
- Once the tomatoes soften, add the carrots, stir and let them cook for 2 minutes, then add the beans and salt to taste, and stir.
- Add the coconut milk and stir. Reduce the heat to low and allow simmering for 3 minutes, stirring it occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom.
About the Country Chef
Aika-Grace Wangwe is not a trained chef, but at home, she is THE chef! Her love for food started at a very young age. Her biggest influence is her mother, and though she would not call herself a chef, to date, Aika-Grace has not eaten anything as good as her mother’s cooking. Aika-Grace runs a food blog called Pendo La Mama — which can translate as either “the love of a mother” or “what mama loves” — where she shares recipes of the dishes she cooks for her family.
Read more about IngredientMatcher’s Country Chefs in the Foodie section
Read more about national dishes and the ebook “National Dishes From Around The World”
Read more about other national dish recipes published on this blog
Johanna in New Zealand
I tried this recipe today, as my first attempt at Tanzanian cooking. It was delicious! We enjoyed the simple flavours and the coconut cream with the vegetables.
This recipe is very inaccurate in regards to measurements. Not only this but it should be noted that the beans must be pre boiled not just soaked. The ugali should come from a ratio of 2:1 water to flour otherwise it will not turn out. There are also far too many beans and this will be less of a maharage and more of beans topped lightly with a sauce
This is interesting,I have also found out that the coastal people in Kenya love the same dish due to the proximity with their Tanzania counterparts.
I completely agree that trying local food should be a part of every travel experience! It’s really a way to be involved with the culture.
That, and getting to know some of the people. That way you really end up getting immersed in the culture, and learn a lot about it. So much fun!
I am looking to make this for a church potluck. Can the ugali be made the day before? If so how do I store it?
Simply put it in a Cool Whip container or a Tupperware, then put it in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve it, warm it up in the microwave, but don’t use full power. If the microwave has a “reheat” setting, use that, That way it should be just fine! The recipe makes more than I can eat in one sitting, so I put the leftovers in a container and reheat it for my next meal. It will keep for several days if necessary, You might want to make the Maharage the same day as you serve it. It’s not quite as good if it’s been sitting in the fridge for a day or two. Fortunately, That’s the easiest part to make!