Written By Reena on 15 Jan 2010 | 05:00

My mum was born and brought up in Uganda and as a result her cooking has an East African feel to it. Matoke is a type of green banana (but not your common or garden unripe banana) or plantain grown in Uganda and Kenya. It is a staple food in these countries and can be cooked in many different ways. Unsurprisingly my mum curries it. I love this dish; it is healthy and comforting with a tart kick to it from the combination of yogurt and tomatoes.  It isn't the prettiest dish but if you can overcome your visual food prejudices and find the time to obtain some matoke (I suggest you try an Indian grocery store) I am sure you will love it too.

Serves 4

  • 600 grams of matoke
  • 1½ teaspoons vegetable oil
  • A thin sliver of butter (in the region of 3 grams is sufficient)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion – finely chopped
  • 150 grams chopped canned tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 plump cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 1 cm of root ginger – peeled and grated
  • 2 small green chillies – finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons coriander-cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 160 ml unsweetened natural yogurt
  • 25 ml water
  • A handful of coriander - chopped

  1. Wash the unpeeled matoke and then cut off the stalks.
  2. Boil the matoke in a large pan. I recommend you use an old pan or one that doesn’t have a stainless steel interior as for some reason the matoke skins stain my stainless steel pans an odd black colour. The matoke are ready when they are very soft (a knife should go straight through them) and the skins have split. This should take in the region of 25 – 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the matoke and leave them to cool but only for a minute. If you allow the matoke to cool too much they will become hard. Taking care not to burn your hands, peel the matoke and then mash them in a bowl using a spoon.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil and butter in a large pan. Once it is hot add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle.
  5. Now add the onion and let it cook until it is soft and transparent.
  6. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, garlic, ginger, green chillies, coriander-cumin powder, red chilli powder and salt and stir well.
  7. Now add the yogurt, water and mashed matoke and stir again. Cover the pan and let the dish cook on a low heat. You will need to stir regularly to stop it sticking to the pan.
  8. Once it is heated thoroughly, taste to check the seasoning. Adjust if necessary.
  9. Garnish with a handful of chopped coriander and serve immediately.

About Reena


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