The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Namungodi: Ingredients And Steps

8 mins read

In this ultimate guide, we will learn about how to cook Namungodi. This cherished Ugandan dish includes rich flavours and traditions of East African culture. It offers a delightful mixture of texture and spices. This dish is a favourite among the local people. So, let us explore its ingredients and steps to create a tasty dish. If you are a seasoned or curious cook, this guide will help you walk through the complete process of making this dish.

Ingredients of Namungodi

Below are the ingredients used for making Namungodi-

  • 2 cups dried cowpeas (black-eyed peas)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying

For the Tomato and Onion Salad-

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon

All these ingredients combine to create a flavorful and aromatic namungodi. This is traditionally served with tomato and onion salad. The balance of spices and freshness in the salad helps complement the dish's savoury nature.

Equipment Required

To make Namungodi, the Ugandan fried cowpea patties, you'll need a few essential kitchen tools and equipment to ensure a smooth cooking process. Here's a list of equipment you'll need:

1. Food Processor or Grinding Stone

  • A food processor or a grinding stone will be essential for grinding the soaked cowpeas into a coarse paste. This is a crucial step in creating the base mixture for the patties.

2. Mixing Bowls

  • You'll need mixing bowls to combine the ground cowpeas with the other ingredients and spices. Having a few bowls of different sizes can be helpful for various stages of the cooking process.

3. Cutting Board and Knife

  • A cutting board and a sharp knife are needed for chopping onions, garlic, tomatoes, and other vegetables used in the recipe.

4. Frying Pan or Skillet

  • A frying pan or skillet will be used to fry the Namungodi patties. Make sure it's large enough to accommodate a few patties at once.

5. Slotted Spoon

  • After frying, a slotted spoon is essential for removing the patties from the hot oil. It allows excess oil to drain away.

6. Paper Towels

  • Keep paper towels on hand to place the fried patties on, allowing them to drain excess oil and stay crispy.

7. Spatula

  • A spatula will help you flip the patties gently while frying, ensuring even browning on both sides.

8. Measuring Spoons

  • Measuring spoons are helpful for accurately adding the various spices and seasonings to the mixture.

9. Lemon Juicer (optional)

  • Suppose you're using fresh lemon juice for the tomato and onion salad. In that case, a lemon juicer can make extracting the juice easier.

10. Serveware

  • Plates or platters for serving the cooked Namungodi patties and the accompanying tomato and onion salad.

11. Stove or Cooktop

  • Like a stove or cooktop, a heat source is necessary for frying the patties and sautéing the onions and garlic.

These are the key equipment required for making namungodi. It is always a good idea to look at the cooking instructions before ensuring everything is there for a good cooking experience.

Preparation Process

The step-by-step preparation process for namungodi is mentioned below-

  • Soak the cowpeas in cold water to remove the dirt.
  • Place the cowpeas in a large bowl and cover it with water. Soak it for 6 hours.
  • Grind the cowpeas in a food processor and keep it aside
  • Mix the ingredients, which are onion, coriander, pepper, etc.
  • Shape the patties into a flat shape.
  • Fry the patties in heated oil. In about 3 minutes, it will turn golden brown.
  • Drain the patties and cool them with the help of paper towels
  • In another bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, chopped onions, and juice of lemon.
  • Serve the namungodi with the salad. It can also be enjoyed with rice.

By following these steps, prepare the real Namungodi and enjoy the taste of Uganda's culinary heritage.

Mixing and Seasoning the Namungodi Mixture

Once you've ground the cowpeas and prepared the necessary ingredients, it's time to mix and season the Namungodi mixture. This step is crucial to ensure the patties are flavorful and well-balanced in taste. Here's how to proceed:


Ground cowpeas (from the grinding process)

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Combine the Ingredients-

  • Add the ground cowpeas, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, ground cumin, paprika, coriander, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

2. Mix Thoroughly-

  • Use your hands or a spoon to mix the ingredients thoroughly. Make sure the spices are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

3. Check Consistency-

  • The mixture should come together and have a slightly sticky consistency. It should hold its shape when pressed and shaped into a patty.

4. Adjust Seasoning-

  • Taste a small portion of the mixture to assess the seasoning. If needed, adjust the salt, pepper, or spices according to your taste preferences. Remember that the flavours will intensify as the patties cook

5. ShapeTest Patty-

  • Take a small amount and shape it into a mini patty.
  • Heat a tiny amount of oil in a pan and cook the mini patty to taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

6. Cover and Rest-

  • If time allows, cover the mixing bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the mixture rest for 15-20 minutes. This can help the flavours meld together.

7. Proceed to Shape-

  • Once the mixture is well-mixed and seasoned to your liking, shape the patties according to your desired size.

You can also adjust the seasonings quantity. According to your taste, experiment with the flavours until a perfect balance is achieved.

Frying Process

Below is the frying process of Namungodi listed. The exterior develops a crispy texture. Below is the process provided -

Ingredients and Equipment-

  • Shaped Namungodi patties
  • Oil for frying (vegetable oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil)


1. Heat the Oil

  • In a frying pan or skillet, pour enough oil to submerge the patties partially. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of around 350°F to 375°F (175°C to 190°C).

2. Test the Oil

  • To check if the oil is hot enough for frying, drop a small piece of the Namungodi mixture into the oil. The oil is ready if it sizzles and rises to the surface immediately.

3. Fry the Patties

  • Carefully place the shaped Namungodi patties into the hot oil using a spatula. Ensure not to overcrowd the pan; leave enough space between patties for even frying.

4. Cook the First Side

  • Allow the patties to fry on the first side until they turn golden brown and crispy. This usually takes about 3-4 minutes. Adjust the heat if needed to maintain a steady frying temperature.

5. Flip the Patties

  • Gently flip the patties using a spatula to fry the other side. The second side should also become golden brown and crispy, which will take an additional 3-4 minutes.

6. Monitor the Cooking

  • Keep an eye on the patties as they fry to ensure they don't burn. Adjust the heat if necessary to prevent the oil from overheating.

7. Drain the Patties

  • Once the patties are evenly fried and have reached a satisfying level of crispiness, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil carefully.

8. Drain Excess Oil

  • Place the fried patties on a plate lined with paper towels. The paper towels will help absorb excess oil and maintain the patties' texture.

9. Repeat for Remaining Patties

  • If you have more patties to fry, repeat the process with the remaining patties, ensuring you maintain the oil temperature.

10. Serve Immediately

  • Namungodi patties are best enjoyed when they are freshly fried and still warm. Serve them alongside the tomato and onion salad for a balanced and delicious meal.

The frying time can be different according to the size of the patties and oil temperature. It is also a good practice to fry one patty first to test the cooking time. Then, only adjust the process for the rest of the patties.

Serving Suggestions

Namungodi can be served with various flavorful side dishes. Here are some serving suggestions to complete your Namungodi meal:

  1. Tomato and Onion Salad: Serve the Namungodi patties with fresh, zesty tomato and onion salad. The salad's vibrant colours and tangy flavours complement the savoury patties well.
  2. Ugali: Namungodi patties are traditionally served with Ugali, a staple maize porridge. Combining the crispy patties and the hearty Ugali creates a satisfying and balanced meal.
  3. Rice: Steamed white rice is another great option to serve alongside Namungodi patties. The patties' texture and flavours contrast nicely with the soft rice.
  4. Chapati: Chapati, a type of flatbread, can be served as a wrap or side dish. You can use chapati to make Namungodi-filled wraps for a delicious handheld meal.
  5. Sautéed Vegetables: Sautéed vegetables, such as spinach, kale, or cabbage, can add a healthy and colourful element to your meal. Season the vegetables with garlic, salt, and pepper for extra flavour.
  6. Chutneys and Dips: Accompany the patties with various chutneys or dips. Tamarind chutney, mint yoghurt sauce, or spicy tomato salsa can add an extra layer of flavour.

Remember to serve the suggestions according to your personal choice. You can mix and match the ingredients to create a meal. It is essential to relish the different flavours and textures of this Ugandian Dish.

Tips  and Variations to Make Namungodi

There are several tips and variations available. To make the namungodi dish more delicious.


  1. Consistency Check: When grinding the cowpeas, ensure they are coarsely ground and not too fine. This texture adds to the patties' unique texture.
  2. Oil Temperature: Maintain a consistent oil temperature while frying. If the oil is too hot, the patties might burn on the outside while remaining uncooked inside. If it's too low, they might absorb excess oil.
  3. Draining Excess Oil: Place fried patties on a wire rack instead of paper towels to prevent them from becoming soggy due to prolonged contact with oil.
  4. Seasoning Layer: Add a pinch of salt and spices to the oil before frying each patty. This can create a flavorful and slightly crispy outer layer.
  5. Prevent Overcrowding: Fry the patties in batches, leaving enough space between them to ensure even cooking and browning.
  6. Test Patty: Before frying the entire batch, cook a test patty to assess seasoning and adjust as needed.
  7. Serve Fresh: To enjoy their crispiness, Namungodi patties are best served immediately after frying. Reheating might affect their texture.


  1. Spice Variations: Experiment with different spices and herbs in the mixture. Add a touch of cayenne pepper or chilli flakes for heat or fresh chopped herbs like parsley or cilantro.
  2. Vegetable Additions: Incorporate finely chopped vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, or zucchini into the mixture for added colour and nutrition.
  3. Protein Boost: Add cooked and minced chicken, beef, or tofu to the mixture for an extra protein boost and a twist on the traditional recipe.
  4. Cheese Infusion: Mix grated cheese, like cheddar or feta, into the cowpea mixture for a cheesy variation. The cheese will melt and add a rich flavour.
  5. Sweet and Savory: Add a touch of sweetness by mixing in grated sweet potato or plantain. This sweet-savory combination can be a unique twist.
  6. Gluten-Free Option: Make Namungodi gluten-free by substituting breadcrumbs with gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond flour for binding.


A flavorful journey is embarked on through this guide to make Namungodi, as these fried cowpea patties offer a perfect blend of texture and taste rooted in tradition and culture. Remember that cooking is both an art and a science that allows for personal expression and experimentation. So, the flavours of Namungodi transport you to the streets of Uganda, where the food is a celebration of life.


Can I make Namungodi ahead of time?

You can prepare its mixture ahead of time as it is recommended to eat it fresh.

How do I know if the oil is hot enough for frying?

By dropping the little mixture of namungodi. 

What can I serve with Namungodi besides Ugali or rice?

Besides the Ugadi or rice, Namungodi can be served with Chapati, Sautted vegetables, etc.

Can I make smaller bite-sized patties for appetizers?

Yes, you can make small bite-sized appetizers. But you need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Drishti Sethi

Drishti, hailing from Panchkula, has successfully completed her graduation in BA hons and is currently pursuing a Masters in English literature at Lovely Professional University. Her empowerment comes from the ability to express her thoughts and ideas through writing in various forms.

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