My eyes light up whenever I see a bunch of little green bananas in my local market. They’re not the regular unripe green bananas we eat every day. They’re Matoke; A staple carbohydrate loved by millions across East Africa and Uganda in particular.
As I spy the bunches of 10-12 little green bananas, I know I’ll always need a lot of them to make the dish that’s whirring around in my mind. Matoke cook down like spinach and what looks like too much is somehow never quite enough. The dish I’m thinking about is Spicy Ugandan Matoke Mash. A staple curry of green bananas cooked with a handful of spices. My family version sees the Matoke pressure cooked until tender and then mashed with plenty of butter, softened onions, cumin, tomatoes and cinnamon.
The huge South Asian influence on the food culture of Uganda is beautifully-harmonious with the local style of cooking. Because of this assimilation of backgrounds, each dish that now exists is bold, hearty and as interesting as the local communities are. This Indian-style Matoke is just one way in which green bananas are prepared across Uganda. It is often cooked simply with tomatoes, turmeric and salt, or added to stews as a filling carb in place of potatoes or cassava.
What I love about this Matoke recipe is that it celebrates those little green bananas for being a filling, delicious, staple ingredient in themselves. And they don’t taste like regular bananas at all! No need to add fancy ingredients, just a few store cupboard basics. Serve with soft-layered Chapattis (Chapos) and Kachumbari to make it a meal.
Vegan? Switch the butter for your favourite vegan butter. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid of overdoing the spicing in this dish. You might think I’m mad for adding as much garlic and onions as the recipe calls for but I urge you to stick with it. The Matoke has a great texture but truth be told, it is bland. It needs flavours that can stand up to it so that the final dish is spicy, tangy, buttery and flavoursome. I promise you won’t regret peeling all that garlic.
Watch my video below and get the full recipe for this delicious Ugandan Matoke (Spicy Green Banana Mash).
PIN IT FOR LATER!