Mujje Tulye from Uganda/Preparation: a Bugisu tribe recipe: the malewa

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Gisu[edit | edit source]

The Gisu people, or Bagisu people of Bugisu sub-region, are a tribe of the Masaba people of eastern Uganda, closely related to the Bukusu people of Kenya. Bagisu live mainly in the Mbale District of Uganda on the slopes of Mount Elgon. The Gisu undergo a circumcision ritual called the Imbalu. The ritual is held every two years during August. According to the 2002 national census, the Bugisu sub-region was home to an estimated 1 million people at that time.

The Bugisu sub-region consists of the following districts: Bududa District, Bulambuli District, Manafwa District, Sironko District and Mbale District.


Malewa[edit | edit source]

Malewa is smoked bamboo shoot which is dried for preservation. The bamboo trees grow in the wild in eastern Uganda around Mt. Elgon.

Malewa in preparation process

Malewa originated from Eastern Uganda in the Bugisu sub-region. It was original eaten as food and later it started to be cooked as a sauce when mixed with ground simsim (sesame seed) or peanuts. Malewa is a major part of ceremonies in Bugisu e.g. Nbalu (circumcision), traditional weddings.

Ingredients[edit | edit source]

  • Malewa
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Peanut paste

Preparation[edit | edit source]

Malewa is boiled in water to clean it and then the joints of the shoot are cut off leaving the middle parts which are cut into smaller pieces. Rock salt is added to the boiled malewa to make it more tender. Finally peanut paste and salt are added and the sauce is simmered to acquire taste. The mallow sauce is served with either matooke, cassava, sweet potatoes, rice or posho (ugali).

Variations[edit | edit source]

Malewa can be served and consumed raw, steamed or boiled.