Uji, now this is a term most Kenyans are familiar with and most if not all have such fond memories of it. It reminds us of comfort and home. Fermented brown uji (porridge) is even more loved. Just so you know how much I love porridge I also have another recipe on how to make fermented uji from fresh maize.
There are two ways that this uji can be made, first is the short cut way where you can buy the already fermented uji flour from the shops or the second which involves making it from scratch for yourself at home. In this recipe we will be concentrating on the second option.
Let me first start by stating that this is not uji that you can wake up in the morning and decide that you want it in the late afternoon. It takes some bit of planning. Give yourself at least two days or so. Now that we have that one out of the way, get some flour, it can be any flour of your choice as long as it’s not wheat flour. In this instance you can use either millet, corn meal, sorghum, amaranth, etc.
The amount of flour is totally dependent on the number of people that you will be cooking the fermented brown uji for. Some people like thin uji while others like it thick. As for me, mine is just perfect with a medium density. So scoop out a few table spoons of flour and soak them in 500ml of water, mix and cover the container. Set aside in a warm area and leave for two days. There is no need to add any sugar or fruit juice to your flour mixture, the naturally occurring yeast in the air will take root.
You will know that the fermentation has started taking place when you see bubbles start to form on the top or the sides of the container. The mixture should also emit an alcohol like smell.
On the third day start by boiling about a cup of water in your sufuria before adding the fermented uji. Reserve a table spoon of the mixture and this will serve as the starter for your next batch. The starter will ensure that your fermentation process goes faster the second time around.
If your uji becomes too thick add boiling water to it to thin it out. NEVER add cold water to your uji because it will “curdle”.
Once the water boils add the fermented mixture while continuously stirring using a wooden mwiko (ladle) to avoid the formation of any lumps. Let’s be honest, who loves lumpy uji? Not me definitely!! Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat and leave to simmer on low heat for about five minutes so that it cooks completely. If you take sugar this would be a good time to add it and a squeeze of lemon juice if you prefer having your uji being more tart.
Cool and serve.
- 4 Tbs of millet flour
- 500ml of water + 240ml
- Sugar according to your taste
- Squeeze of lemon juice (Optional) or pinch of citric acid
- Mix your flour with 500ml of water and set aside for two days in a warm place to ferment.
- On third day boil 240ml of water and the add the fermented mixture to it while continuously stirring.
- Once it comes to a boil reduce heat and leave to simmer for five minutes.
- Add sugar and lemon juice if desired.
- Remove from heat, cool and serve.