Claimed by our Ugandan brothers and sisters across the boarder as their staple food, Matoke is a simple yet delicious meal with different variations across Africa.
Some referring to it as “plantain bananas”, Matoke is usually green in color and may differ in appearance, depending on the various regions they grow in and also the stages of ripening. I personally believe Matoke and Plantains are miles apart, not only in flavor and texture but also in the method of preparation.
Growing up as a child, I have many fond memories of matoke and being of ‘Kisii’ origin, it was a staple food in our household that my mother brought us up on. She always came up with many creative ways to prepare this humble dish.
My inspiration for sharing this recipe with you guys is the nostalgic memories I hold growing up. A day would rarely go by without eating Matoke in one way or the other.
Be it boiled with the skins on for breakfast, stewed alongside meat or on their own for lunch or mashed up and served with a side of veggies for dinner. Not to forget my all time favorite of roasting them over hot coals on a “jiko” or burying it in the hot ashes as lunch or dinner was being prepared. The list was endless but those were the good old days, growing up in the farm living off the land. Nothing greater than being close to your food source, it doesn’t get any fresher than that. Someone take me back to the life when things were slow and simple, before all the hustle and bustle that is the city life nowadays.
Other than the initial hustle of planting Banana trees, they are a common sight in many African farms and homesteads,owing to the fact that they are low mantainance as compared to other food sources. Matoke is very versatile and other than cooking it, one can choose to leave them to ripen and consume as a fruit. The world is your oyster and how handle it will determine the outcome
Matoke can either be prepared as a vegetarian meal or accompanied with some rice just as my mother used to make it for us when we were kids.
Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite ways to prepare Matoke alongside meat. It’s the exact same replica of what my Mum used to make for us, now with a little twist of coconut milk.
This is a simple dish to prepare and like most local recipes, i would opt for basic ingredients like tomatoes, onions and salt to taste. For me, these were the flavor profiles that never missed in any African delicacy, get your technique right when preparing your meal with the most basic ingredients and you will surprise yourself with what you will be churning out of your kitchen”. Simplicity is the best form of sophistication and nothing embodies this more than the foods our mothers used to prepare.
The coconut milk does it for me in this simple meal as it adds to un matched creaminess and richness to the stew that balances out well with the sweetness and acidity from the tomatoes and onions.
Matoke is not only delicious and healthy but they’re quite affordable and locally available. Some of you may cringe at the thought of being served rice and Matoke or even rice and potatoes but sometimes when food is hard to come by, starch is accompanied with starch. If done well, matoke served with rice is a match like no other. Throw in some greens like shredded sukuma wiki or cabbages and you have a decent meal on you.
Matoke is a great source of potassium in our diet and due to its high fiber content, it aids in digestion especially when battling constipation. It’s high fiber content also makes you feel fuller for longer which is a great meal plan option to help those with weight loss programs. Studies have also shown that Matoke helps fight ulcers, heart diseases and regulating blood pressure in the body. All the more reason to consume the green banana.
While peeling Matoke apply some cooking oil on the palm of your hands.This will prevent the gooey gummy discharge from the banana sticking onto your palms
Is there anything like “too many tomatoes”? Not for me, I’m a sucker for ripe tomatoes and I always use as many as my pocket will allow me to.
Also if you know of any way to chop up onions without getting them “onion eyes” 😰 please let a brother know in the comment section below
This is a meal that will take little of your time to prepare,requires minimal ingredients,easy on your pockets and doesn’t lack in flavor and attitude.
After peeling your Matoke soak them in salty water completely submerged to prevent them from oxidizing and turning into a darker shade
- 8 Green Bananas ‘Matoke’
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 cups chicken stock(optional)
- 1 bunch coriander
- Salt&pepper to taste
This is one of the recipes that brings great joy to my heart when preparing mainly due to the simplicity of the dish and the significance it had in my childhood.Its cooking stripped down to it’s bare essentials with the most basic of ingredients and the simplest of techniques in preparation just as it were handed down to our mothers and theirs mothers before them
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