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Matoke refers to a local plantain that is wrapped in banana leaves and then, steamed to make a dish. The term matooke also refers to a meal of mashed plantains, beef and dried fish that are cooked in a beef stock flavored with chillies, tomatoes, bell peppers and garlic. This is considered to be one of the national dishes and the carbohydrate essential of Uganda.

What is Matoke?

Matoke or green plantains are a staple crop in Uganda. These East African Highland bananas or plantains grown plentifully in the state and the mashed plantain are served at every meal. This variety of banana resembles unripe bananas but they are very different in taste and texture. They are very hard and they do not sweeten as they turn ripe. They have to be cooked to turn them into a soft mash which can then be consumed just like mashed potatoes. As a result, the mashed bananas can be served with a large range of gravies, meats and broths as an accompaniment.

Matoke Recipe Overview

The Matoke bananas have to be peeled, sprinkled with lemon juice, salt and pepper and wrapped in the leaves of the plant. The banana parcels are then steamed in a cooking pot of water. The bananas are allowed to steam for two hours till tender and then, mashed and served in the same banana leaf parcel it was cooked in. The cooked bananas turn soft yellow in color.

Serving Matoke

Matoke parcels or steamed banana is traditionally served with every meal as the carbohydrate staple of Uganda.

Popular Matoke Variations

  • Spicy Matooke cooked with kale or spinach is a very typical recipe prepared in Uganda. Banana parcels are made or the bananas are boiled to prepare the mash. This mash is then served with tomato based spinach gravy.
  • Matooke with Njahi Beans is prepared by mashing the bananas and then serving them with beans in a tomato based gravy.
  • Matoke also refers a single dish prepared by simmering the bananas with beef, dried chillies, and dry fish in a tomato, bell peppers and garlic sauce. This dish is served as a one pot meal.
  • Katogo Matoke refers to mashed bananas in a Binyebwa or peanut sauce. This dish is slightly different as the peanut sauce is made and the cut bananas are added to the peanut sauce to cook in the sauce.