Expat Magazine

A Typical Ugandan Meal

By Hanna

I had high hopes from Ugandan food. Looking back, I’m not too sure why. I titled this post ‘a typical Ugandan meal’ but it really should have been called ‘how many carbs can you fit on a plate’.

There is not much ‘flavour’ in Ugandan food. (I’m someone who loves my Indian and Nepali food!) Yet, it made me even sadder when I arrived at the village and couldn’t get any vegetables or fruit. The local trading center sometimes had vegetables but it was not a daily affair. In the village, my daily diet consisted of potato and ground nut paste – which helped me put on weight! Or posho and beans (a school child’s daily meal)

But, when I moved into Jinja town though there was plenty more variety and the below picture gives an example meal in Uganda. This is the average meal I would eat in the town but there many variations which also depend on tribe, location and availability of foods.

A Typical Ugandan Meal

A ugandan vegetarian meal

Ugandan meals are big on their carbs. Like, seriously. A single meal consists of rice, potatoes (which they refer to as ‘Irish’), sweet potatoes, cassava and yam (both carby root vegetables), posho and matoke.

Posho comes from maize which you cook into a porridge which then turns into a lump (see above photo). It pretty much has the taste of when you overcook rice and it all gets stuck together at the bottom. It has little nutritional content and is served as a ‘filler’ food.

Matoke I actually really loved. It is unripened plantain which is peeled, boiled and mashed. It tastes a bit like mashed potatoes. But as it is unripe it can cause stomach ulcers.

A Typical Ugandan Meal

The unripe plantain

A Typical Ugandan Meal

matoke with peanut sauce

All these carbs are served with a nut paste, some greens/fried cabbage,beans or peas and some meat or fish. Mostly everything that you eat is fried. Including the spaghetti (known as ‘macron’) which they fry and then it all sticks together in a lump and then serve along with the daily meal. I haven’t been able to eat spaghetti since I left Uganda but I’m working to be able to!

Over the months that I was there I actually learned to love Ugandan food and all its tasteless carbs. It definitely tastes a lot better when you have a bit of everything on your plate! Also, partly because I smeared fresh sweet avocado on everything. Although Ugandan food doesn’t have too much flavour, the vegetables and fruits (when you get them) are so fresh and (mostly) organic. I think I definitely learned to love Ugandan food by the end of my stay but I don’t think I will be recreating any dishes back in England!

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