Gluten Free in Uganda

Gluten Free in Uganda

So for those of you who don’t follow my Facebook page, you may be wondering where I have vanished to over the past few weeks!

Yes, I admit, I am not exactly the best at posting frequently when I get busy, but this time I have a perfectly viable excuse….I have been volunteering in Uganda!

I visited Kira Farm, run by the charity Amigos Worldwide, which I have been volunteering with over the past few months.

I basically spent the two weeks interacting with the students, digging and harvesting crops, visiting sponsored children and past students in the area of Masindi, going on safari and making this video about Kira Farm…..

The main aim of Kira Farm is to provide young people in Uganda with vocational skills, sustainable farming techniques, and holistic guidance so that they are better equipped to lift themselves out of poverty.

You can read more about my time in Uganda and the students I met on the blog I wrote for my local paper here.

So why, you ask, am I writing about it on here? Well, I wanted to share with you all the yummy gluten free foods I tried whilst I was out there!

Travelling can be daunting when you have a food intolerance, but luckily for me (and anyone else planning to visit Uganda!) their diet is primarily, naturally gluten free!

A lot countries in East Africa eat a similar diet, so if you are travelling to the region, here is the lowdown on what I ate and my top tips!

Top tip: Beware of sauces! A lot of sauces contain additives such as “curry powder” or “spicy beef powder” which are imported and contain wheat flour as an added flavour. But then, that is much the same as England!

The main staples I tried in Africa were…

  1. Posho – a sort of dough like substance which looks a little like mash potato. Made using maize flour and water, this is gluten free, but a very bland food! I would recommend adding salt and chilli flakes!
  2. Matoke – a variety of bananas eaten as a savoury dish! These bananas are green and will never ripen to yellow – they are delicious, try mashing them with G-Nut sauce (explained later!) Similar to mash potato, but with more flavour!
  3. Sweet Potatoes – Just like at home, except the varieties we ate were the same colour as normal potatoes. They do also serve delicious “normal” potatoes but you have to call them IRISH – otherwise they don’t know what you mean! Classic!
  4. Cassava – a root vegetable which can be boiled, a slightly chewy texture, but a pleasant taste.
  5. Rice – naturally gluten free, and extra delicious!!

There is also a DELICIOUS sauce called G-Nut sauce, which is heavenly! G-nuts, or groundnuts, are pretty much the same as peanuts in taste, but they have this amazing mushroomy-pink colour! Combined with water and salt, the G-nut paste makes a delicious sauce.

There were plenty of vegetables in the diet, fresh fruit, and a lot of beans cooked in a tomato and onion sauce (which I had to restrain the students from adding “spicy beef flavouring” to!)

Overall, much of the diet is naturally gluten free. Language barriers make it difficult to try and discuss your dietary needs – I did try to educate the students I met, who were mostly sad for me that I couldn’t eat cakes!

I hope this helps anyone travelling to these areas, here’s some yummy photos of the delicious food we ate!

Posho, beans and greens

Avocado salad, made with avocados the size of your foot!

Matoke waiting to be peeled and cooked

Roasted plantain on the roadside, so sweet!

Matoke and G-nut sauce, best meal EVER

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9 Comments

  1. Hope.
    November 22, 2012 / 11:02

    I love the fact that you liked our food…and that it worked for your condition too….
    Am Ugandan, was getting my ppt ready for a health talk and landed on these cute pics of Ugandan food. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah Howells (GF Blogger)
      November 22, 2012 / 19:56

      Hi Hope, thanks for commenting – Ugandan food is the best, and all the fruit and veg tastes incredible! Missing it already!

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