Servings : Serves 4-6
This is one of the most typical E/African meals. Ugali (also known as Sima) with Spinach (Mchicha), Potatoes in tomato gravy and Fried Fish.
Ingredients for Gravy
- 1kg potatoes, peeled and cut in half inch slices
- 5-6 big fresh tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste/puree
- 1 tsp. sugar
- some coriander (leaves and some stems too)
- 1/4 tsp. garlic paste
- 2 green chillies
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
Ingredients for Spinach
- 1 big bunch of spinach (it shrinks a LOT during cooking)
- 1 medium onion, grated or chopped finely
- 2 tomatoes, blended with their skin
- 1-2 green chillies
- a few methi/fenugreek leaves
- 1/2 tsp. garlic paste
- 1 tsp. tomato paste/puree
- 2 tbsp. grated capsicum (green and red)
- 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
- pinch of turmeric powder
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- some coriander for garnishing
Ingredients for Ugali/Sima
- 4 cups water
- pinch of salt
- approx. 2 cups finely ground maizemeal/cornmeal (white type, not brown or yellow)
For Potatoes in Gravy
Fry the potato slices on medium heat until done. Remove and drain then blot on tissues. Alternatively you can boil the potatoes whilst whole and then peel and slice them for a healthier version, but it won’t taste as good as the fried ones. 😉
Wash and cut the tomatoes into quarters (skin and all!). Put them in a blender, add the 2 green chillies and a bit of the coriander stems for extra flavour. Add a bit of water and blend until completely smooth.
Heat some oil in a pan or wok. Add the garlic paste, followed by the tomato paste. Let this fry for a couple of minutes on low whilst stirring regularly, then add the turmeric and blended tomatoes. Sprinkle some salt, cover and let this simmer on medium heat until it thickens and the tomatoes’ raw taste has gone. Add the tsp. of sugar and keep simmering for a few more minutes until it thickens to a lovely gravy n some oil begins to separate from it.
Now add the fried potatoes and stir together, adjust salt and if you prefer the gravy to be a bit lighter you can add a bit of water and simmer it for a few minutes. The potatoes will absorb some of the moisture, so make sure that there is a bit more gravy than you would normally want, some will disappear into the potatoes.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve!
If you’re using boiled potato slices, after you add them into the gravy, spread out everything on a greased tray and stick it in the oven for about 5 minutes to give it a nice finish.
Take your bunch of fresh spinach. Wash/clean and get the leaves off the stems. Discard stems and drain the leaves then chop them into very thin slices.
Heat some oil in a pan, add a few methi (fenugreek) leaves followed by the onions. Fry until they are a nice light brown, then add a slited green chilli and the garlic paste. Fry together for a minute then add the capsicum and spices. Let this cook for a bit and release its aroma, then add the tomato paste followed by the chopped spinach. Give them a stir in your pan and add the blended tomatoes, and salt. Cover and let this cook, giving it a stir every so often. The spinach will reduce drastically in amount. Do not cook the spinach too long, you will lose all the nutrients from it otherwise. About 10 minutes should be good enough. You can add water to help it get done if it dries up too quickly. Once it’s done to your liking, squeeze in the lemon juice then garnish with coriander and serve.
You can access the recipe for the Fried Fish
Heat the water with the pinch of salt in a sturdy pan. When it’s quite warm but not boiling hot, start to gradually add your maizemeal a little bit at a time whilst stirring with a wooden spoon. Avoid forming lumps, break them down with the spoon as soon as they form. Keep the heat on medium to low. Keep gradually adding a bit of maizemeal at a time whilst stirring continuously. It will thicken the more you add the maizemeal. If you stop stirring, lumps will form and that wouldn’t taste good!
So remember to keep on stirring and stirring until it’s the consistency is a bit thicker than of mashed potatoes. Thick but not solid. This should take anywhere between 5-8 minutes depending on the heat you were making it at. You might not need to use up all the maizemeal, stop adding when you find the consistency is right (you should be able to easily turn the wooden spoon and stir). Turn it over into a hot pot and keep warm until ready to serve!
Enjoy with veggies or gravy or curry. 🙂