Recipe: Ugali Kisiagi (Wholegrain)

26 June 2023|Kenyan Recipes

Whole grain ugali is commonly known as posho mill ugali or in Swahili, ugali wa kisiagi. It is common in upcountry regions where posho mills conveniently grace every locality. And let’s not forget its affinity for maize-growing regions like Western Kenya, Nyanza, and the Rift Valley. Truly, grainy heaven.

Whole Grain Ugali, Unsifted, Traditional
Whole Grain Ugali

So essentially, whole grain ugali is made from whole grain maize flour, where the maize is not sifted(the bran is not removed before milling)

It all begins with whole grain maize flour, untainted by any form of sifting or processing. None of that bran removal process here! We’re talking about milling everything. The result is a healthy flour packed with fibers.

Wholemeal ugali is darker in color; creamy white instead of pale white as sifted flour ugali, It tastes grainier(in a good way), firmer texture so it doesn’t stick in your hands, has a popcorn smell and taste, is sweeter with a good after taste. In a side-by-side taste, sifted ugali will taste blander and less rich


  •  2½ cups, Whole Maize Meal
  •  2 cups, Water


  •  Cooking stick(Mwiko)
  •  Saucepan/Pot (Sufuria)
  •  A pair of tongs a pot Holder (Kamata) if necessary
Whole Grain Maize Meal
Whole Grain Maize Meal


  1. Boil water covered to contain evaporation losses over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add ½ cup flour stirring continuously, as if your life depends on it (which, of course, it doesn’t). Allow to bubble for a mere 30 seconds then add one more ½ cup, bubble till thick and heavy.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add 1 cup of flour while combining, if you love softer ugali leave out the other ½ cup of flour, but if you love firmer and stiffer ugali add the remaining cup. The fate of your desired consistency lies in your hands.
  4. Pound while combining till everything is homogeneous and solid, at this point, your pot will start forming a coating layer, let your ugali mass now set to steam on the inside.
  5. Occasionally, flip your ugali to steam till a whistling sound of steam is heard, or your pot coating starts burning and turning light brown. Whistling is from the excess water in ugali evaporating away, it is important so that the insides are not mushy. Maybe the whistling is your symphony of success and validation, just maybe
  6. You know your ugali is done when your kitchen smells like movie theater popcorn! To serve, line a flat plate with your cooking pot and flip the pot upside down to release and plate the ugali. Leave the pot upside down to keep warm while you prepare your accompanying; stew, curry, eggs, or vegetables.
Ugali Kisiagi
Ugali Kisiagi


In this battle of sifted vs whole grain ugali, I tend to lean towards the whole grain, maybe it will make me built like the muscle flex in the packaging.

Whole grain retains all its natural constituents like God intended it to be, it has authenticity, tradition, and importantly healthier. On the other hand, sifted ugali is from over-processed flour thus losing most of the goodness in the process.

On the subject of texture, whole-grain ugali is rough in both appearance and feel, while sifted ugali is more polished and finer. The processing gives it an almost pearl-white color, and good consistency while the whole grain is creamy in color and dull

Inside Section of Whole Grain Ugali
Inside Section of Whole Grain Ugali

Nutritional Information

a) Whole Grain Maize Meal

Per 100g Serving Calories: 343kcal, Carbohydrates: 84g, Fat 4.5g Proteins: 8.1g  Fiber:8.5g

Vitamin C 0mg0% Vitamin D 0mcg(0%) Iron 2.8mg(15%) Calcium 8.2mg(1%) Potassium 368.5mg(8%) Phosphorus 318.2mg(25%)

b) Premium Sifted Maize Meal

Per 100g Serving Calories: 92kcal, Carbohydrates: 21.5g, Proteins: 2.2g, Fiber: 0.8g, Fat: 21.5g


It’s important to keep in mind that these values are general averages and can vary from brand to brand. It’s always a good practice to refer to the specific product’s nutrition label for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding its calorie content.

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general advice.

Although whole grain ugali contains a higher amount of carbohydrates, it also provides more than 8 times the fiber content. The presence of fiber in whole-grain ugali helps slow down the digestion process, leading to a prolonged feeling of fullness. Opting for whole-grain ugali can be beneficial for weight management as it helps reduce the frequency of hunger pangs.

Higher fiber content means smoother digestion in case your stomach gets bloated often or if you are constipated, “I will have a digestive cookie”

The increased fiber content in whole grain ugali helps slow down the digestion process, resulting in a gradual release of sugar into the bloodstream. This characteristic prevents rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, unlike sifted flour ugali, which is easily digested and can cause higher blood sugar spikes. Essentially, whole grain ugali has a lower glycemic index compared to sifted ugali, which is beneficial for managing blood sugar levels.


While whole grain ugali is much healthier and the better choice, even in taste; the choice of your flour should be decided by you, and not a guy writing on the internet. Whichever you choose, remember the better one for you is the one you enjoy. Unless you are on dietary restrictions; then whole grain is the way.

My go-to is whole grain because it strikes the perfect balance between nutrition and taste. I have to compromise on the texture however, it doesn’t bother me much. That’s exactly what a  bothered person would say. Takes time to get used to, in 2 weeks it will be all normal again

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Authentic Kenyan Ugali Recipe:A Step-by-Step Guide(Noob Friendly)

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