First, switch on your stove to high. Using a medium-sized and deep pot, bring water to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and set ½ a cup of water aside.
To the pot, add the cornmeal, a quarter of a cup at a time, and use a wooden spoon to stir, using circular motions. At this point, it should be slightly thick and resemble porridge.
Continue adding the cornmeal a little at a time, and stirring until all of it has been used up and the mixture is firm. This will take about 5 minutes.
Using the wooden spoon, poke small holes on the surface of the ugali and add the previously preserved hot water to the holes.
Next, cover and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes stirring halfway through, or until all the water has evaporated and the bottom of the pan is browned up but not burning.
Use the wooden spoon to transfer the ugali to the side of the pot. You will know the ugali is cooked when it easily pulls away from the bottom of the pot and starts to give a strong corn aroma. A small ball pinched between the thumbs will also feel slightly sticky and not grainy.
Finally, run the wooden spoon under tap water (this helps with the shaping). Continue to shape it in the pot until you have an almost round ball.
Take the pot from the stove and tip it upside down onto a plate, so the ugali now falls to the plate. You can shape it again using the wooden stick.
Serve ugali hot with your favorite stews or grilled dishes.