Thursday, July 21, 2011

Making ugali

Today, Sunday the 10th was our day off.  We slept in late (9:30ish) and enjoyed my favorite meal that mama has cooked us so far.  It’s basically Indian samosas with a chutney sauce.  The sauce was freshly grated coconut with milk, lime juice and some green spice.  It was phenomenal and I hope mama makes it again.  Jon and I did our laundry and then studied Swahili.  This last week my mama gave me a “kanga” which is a beautiful piece of fabric.  You cut it in half and can use it for various reasons.  I bought one during my first week to use as a towel.  The one that mama gave me was cut into two pieces.  The one half is an informal skirt and the other half I had made into an apron.  It’s beautiful.  Our host brother brought us to a few markets to get lots of groceries for mama this week. 

It was a lot of fun following him around and watch him negotiate for the food.  Since mama is a caterer, we buy tons and tons of food at once.  Mama and I made ugali which is the Tanzanian staple food. 

Basically, it’s just water and flour mixed together.  It becomes this fluffy white substance which resembles mashed potatoes, but is incredibly tough to mix.  Mama is so strong and she makes it look so easy.  Then, when it was my turn to mix, I could barely turn it over.  We made two dishes to go with the ugali.  There were beans with vegetables as one dish and then little sardines covered in tomato puree for the other.  You eat ugali with your hand and dip it into the side dishes (beans and/or sardines).  Ugali doesn’t really taste like anything.  It’s more like rice, lentils or tofu where it just takes on the flavor of whatever you are eating with it.  I didn’t love ugali, but it could have been far worse.  More of less, I’m just indifferent to it.     

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