EA COCONUT MILK WITH WHOLE GRAINS PORRIDGE/UJI WA NGANO NZIMA
Uji wa ngano nzima' simply means 'porridge containing whole wheat grains'. Uji ( Kenya) is basically flour (e.g rice, cassava, maize, millet,sorghum, flour or a mix of them) cooked with water to a thick paste consistency (forming the porridge). 'Uji wa ngano' starts out as a porridge where the base is made of (wheat) flour but with the addition of Coconut milk and whole grains (usually barley or wheat). The addition of coconut milk is distinctively a Swahili touch hence this Swahili delicacy was usually reserved for Ramadhan and special occasions.
COOKING THE PORRIDGE
More information & tips
1) Be very careful when handling porridge, it burns like molten lava!
2) The amount of water or milk used in this recipe is not definite. You might need more or less depending on the amount of flour to start with, the amount of heat used, cooking times as well as personal preference on the consistency of the porridge.
3) Do not be tempted to add a lot of flour! Or you will need buckets of water or milk to thin the porridge down. Remember a little goes a long way!
4)Addition of vanilla pods are optional but it is worth the cost. Break the pod and scoop up its contents but add all of it (the skin and contents) in the porridge. Remove before serving. I usually get Vanilla pods gifts from Comoro (these are considered great gifts due to their rareness (zawadi za tunu).
5) You can substitute coconut milk with milk but the taste will not be the same!
6) Do not store the HOT porridge in a thermos (or any heat preserving container) for more than a day. The porridge will cuddle up (kuchachuka) due to the coconut milk present. If you have to store it to the next day, let it completely cool down before storage.
7) In East Africa, the porridge can be served plain or with some vishete, mandazi, or served as a dessert (usually after dinner).
8) I associate this porridge with special events like when we got some special guests (wageni mashukhuri!!!) or special Islamic celebrations e.g Ramadhan or Eid as when I was young. It was not cooked frequently. I only ever saw it appear on the menu during those occasions. I do not know the reasons why...maybe because my elders considered it time consuming as you had to tend to a large pot for a long time...or maybe it was budget issues (as they would drench it with so much coconut milk, or maybe just to create that awesome and mystic feeling about the porridge....Or maybe I will never know. Needless to say I cook it all the time in my household as it makes me feel nostalgic.