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AABL News Digest
Malwa, Uganda's Magic Drink
By - - History/Culture

In Uganda, drinking malwa, a local brew, is one of the things you will see in almost every part of the country. It is consumed under tree shades, in the comfort of a home or at the market place. Consumers in different parts of the country have different names for it: Ajon (in Teso), Malwa (in Buganda) or Amarwa (in the Western region).

Unlike in the bars and pubs where a drink is shared by only one person, for malwa, it is served in one pot or bucket which can be shared by over 30 people. This local drink brings together all classes of people and it is taken using long, slender bamboo straws.

Probably through such social gatherings, many broken hearts are mended, because as they drink, a lot of things are discussed including problems and misunderstandings in their homes and work places. They also talk about politics comparing the past regimes and the current regime.

In rural areas especially in the Northern and Eastern Uganda, malwa pubs are made of grass thatched huts built in a special way that some space is left between the roof and the wall for proper exposure to air.

Malwa is made out of millet or maize flour. For millet, the process begins by mixing millet flour with water to make it smooth and solid. It is then buried underground for about a week to allow it to ferment. After seven days of fermentation, the sour mass is recovered and roasted at very high temperatures until it turns black. This is followed by sun drying, which normally takes about two days. It is then put in a drum filled with water so that the bad stuff floats and is filtered off. At this stage, yeast is added for two consecutive days. This turns the sour mixture sweet, as though sugar has been added to it. After another couple of days, it is ready to serve.

Whereas malwa made from maize flour goes through more or less the same process, the only difference being that fermentation is done in a bucket for about three days and then the flour is fried until it turns black, after which it is cooled and stored in a drum for two days. It is always prepared with extra care. They use boiled water and the straws are dipped in hot water before re –use.

All in all malwa drink has proven to be one of the healthiest forms of alcohol if taken moderation because it contains carbohydrates, Vitamin A, C, E, starch and proteins.

Don't miss malwa while on Uganda Safari!

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