All The Different Ways Africans Cook Maize Including Sadza, Ugali and Ogi

We Africans love our maize. It is one of the most common food staples that is eaten quite similar across different countries of the continent.

Maize, which is also referred to as corn, is a cereal grain that is not only widespread in Africa but the world. It is full of fibre and highly nutritious. Maize can be eaten on the cob, as cereal, steamed, as a pudding/porridge and so on.

To know more about how this staple food is eaten across Africa, keep reading. (side note: there is a surprise recipe* at the end that originates from someplace exotic!)

Here we go:

1. Sadza


Sadza is a common staple food in Zimbabwe. It is made of cornmeal (mealie-meal) which is finely ground and steamed in a pot to create a thick consistency that can be eaten with vegetables or soups such as Muriwo Unedovi or Muboora.

See Also: 10 Zimbabwean Dishes To Try In Your Lifetime

2. Banku/Kenkey

Banku and Tilapia
Banku and Tilapia

Banku or Kenkey are popular foods in Ghana which are similar to Sadza. They are fufu-like but are made with maize and sometimes with the addition of plantain or cassava. Kenkey is usually cooked in part, before being steamed in plantain leaves or banana husks for an added local flavour. They are also slightly grainy in texture and can be eaten with a pepper sauce (shito) and tilapia, or any soup of choice.

3. Ugali

ugali kenya

Ugali is a cornmeal popular in Eastern Africa. Although Ugali is primarily made from maize, it can be substituted with sorghum or millet flour and sometimes mixed with cassava flour. It can also be eaten with greens on the side or stews.

4. Corn and Bush Pear (Oka na Ube)

corn ube

This is a street-side food that is predominantly eaten in Western Africa. The yellow corn is usually grilled by the roadside or steamed and often accompanied with grilled/ boiled Ube (Nsafu, butter fruit, African bush pear) or coconut.

5. Ogi

Akara ogi

Ogi/Akamu (Nigeria) is a meal made from fermented maize. It’s usually eaten as a breakfast meal, served with moi-moi (steamed bean pudding) or akara (deep fried bean puree). Newer variations include fruits to the mixture to give it a fruity flavour.

See Also: You Should Be Having These For Breakfast! Check Out 8 African Breakfast Ideas

6. Phutu Pap

lamb-shank-poetjie-and-phutupap krummelap

Phutu pap, also known as Krummel pap is another spin on cornmeal. Unlike sadza, kenkey or ogi, it has a grainy, fluffy and crumbly texture which can be scooped with a spoon, like rice. It is commonly eaten in South Africa and accompanied with stews such as chakalaka or sour milk.

7. Pap en wors

pap en wors

South Africans love their Boerwors, which are a kind of sausages in the region cooked in a coil and can be eaten with virtually anything including mielie pap. The woers are added to a gravy which serves as a delicious accompaniment for the mielie pap. Pap en woers can also be served baked. The pap, boerewors, cheese, sauce and spices are combined in a dish and baked in a one-pot goodness.

See Also: 10 Popular South African Foods You Must Eat

8. Ukpo Oka

ukpo oka

This a steamed corn pudding which is famous in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. It is usually wrapped in leaves to give it a sturdy yet soft texture and earthy flavour. In some other parts of Nigeria, it is eaten as a porridge, complete with its own spices, and vegetables added to the pot. It can also be accompanied with yam, a tuber crop or garri (fried cassava grains).

9. Samp


Samp is what you get when kernels of corn have been dehulled or have had their husks removed. It can be cooked with peanut butter, beans, or served steamed with gravies like chakalaka.

10. Popcorn


Popcorn, the favourite snack which is now associated with movies is widely eaten in Africa. Although it did not originate in Africa, it is quite common here. The popcorn kernels expand when heated in the oven hence the “pop” in popcorn. It can be eaten as a roadside snack, sometimes with peanuts as is common on some streets in Nigeria.

11. Cornflakes

maize cornflakes

This is another food that didn’t originate in Africa but is now popular in the continent asa breakfast meal. The first corn flakes were made by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg in 1894 in the United States by toasting flakes of corn. Now a lot of cereals which are made from corn can be found in markets. It’s high fibre content and easy preparation makes it a common favourite for breakfast.

See Also: 6 African Dishes To Inspire Your Culinary Lifestyle

Maize from the Caribbean with love…


Cou-Cou and flying fish

Cou-cou is the national dish of Barbados. Due to how similar Caribbean and African dishes are, cou-cou is worth a try if you are looking for a twist. Cou-cou is made with a cou-cou or fungi stick and cornmeal. After made to a thick fufu-like consistency, the Okra soup with the addition of “flying fish” is added to the cooked corn meal.

Featured image: https://mycopperpotdotcom


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