Matoke is a Ugandan stew made with Matoke (green bananas), vegetables, protein, and a spice mix. Our recipe for this typical African stew includes beans for plant-based protein and plantain instead of Matoke, as they are widely available. This recipe is a Donation recipe, meaning that all the profit made from our ads, goes directly to a beautiful educational project in Uganda.
What is Matoke?
Matoke, also known as Matooke, is a traditional dish native to East Africa, particularly in Uganda. It is primarily made from green bananas, which are a type of cooking banana. These bananas are harvested when they're unripe and have a high starch content, making them perfect for cooking. In Uganda, Matoke is considered one of their national dishes and is often served mashed.
The ingredients used in a traditional Matoke recipe often include tomatoes, bell peppers, curry powder, and cayenne pepper, resulting in a dish bursting with rich flavors. Not only is it simple to prepare, but it can also be made vegan, making it an excellent choice for lunch or dinner.
For this African Stew, we decided to use Plantain, a type of cooking banana that is quite similar in texture and flavor to the Matoke. These are easier to find and widely available.
If you are not used to the green cooking bananas taste and texture, this dish will definitely surprise you. The taste of green bananas is not for everyone but cooked properly, you will have a delicious and healthy meal that will fill you up for hours.
Why should you make this recipe?
This is a Donation Recipe, meaning that all the profit we make from the ads on this page, will go directly to a beautiful project in Uganda. Teachtogether is an educational volunteering project that helps children, teachers, entrepreneurs, and many people involved in the education system in different places around Uganda.
By staying on this page, you are already helping them, but what else can you do to help this fantastic initiative?
- Stay on this page for as long as you can. The longer you stay, the more we get from the ads displayed here.
- Scroll down, and check all the information we give in this post about the recipe.
- Make the recipe. This recipe is definitely different for us, we are not used to cooking African dishes and the taste of this meal greatly surprised us.
- Leave a review, comment, and share the recipe. If you know people that would love to contribute to this initiative, let them know that they can do it from home, and at no cost to them!
Our Matoke is:
- Made with plantain
- A one-pot meal
- Easy to prepare
How to cook Matoke at home
Matoke or green bananas. Matoke or green cooking bananas is the main ingredient of this recipe. If you can get Matoke where you are reading us from, great! Go for it, we will explain as well, how to prepare this recipe using original Matokes. Where we live, we couldn't get Matokes so we are using green or unripe Plantains for this recipe. Other options are Thai green bananas. If you think green plantains will be too unripe for you, you may want to use yellow plantain, which is sweeter.
Fresh vegetables. To make Matoke we use white or yellow onion, red bell pepper, and fresh whole tomatoes. Optionally, you can use fresh red chilli to add some heat to the dish. You can use other vegetables such as red onions, green pepper, or potatoes.
Garlic and ginger. A few garlic cloves and a piece of ginger add flavor to the stew.
Tomato paste. We like adding some tomato purée to the stew. This adds umami and gives the stew a richer taste.
Black beans. For our Vegan Matoke, we use black beans for protein. You can use other types of protein such as white beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, tofu, seitan, or even tempeh.
Spice mix. The spice mix we use for this Ugandan Stew is cumin, curry powder, and bay leaf. You can use cumin seeds as well instead of cumin powder. Other spices you can add to this stew are black pepper, coriander powder or seeds, garlic powder, or cinnamon.
Vegetable stock. To keep our Matoke stew vegan, we use vegetable stock. Traditionally, beef stock is used, but vegetable bouillon cubes will make your dish just as delicious.
- Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan or large pot and add the garlic, ginger, and onion. Sautée for a couple of minutes and add the spice mix.
- When fragrant, add chopped tomatoes, red pepper, and tomato paste. Keep stirring for a few minutes.
- Peel the plantains and slice them into small pieces. Deglaze the pan with a little bit of water and add the cooked black beans and the plantain. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, and bay leaf, and bring the pan to a simmer. Leave simmering to medium heat until the plantain becomes fork-tender (about 35 minutes). Garnish with some finely chopped coriander and serve.
If you are using Matoke, before you start cooking, peel the Matoke and leave it in a big container with salted water. If you are using Plantain, you don't need to do this.
Tips to cook Matoke
Selecting Matoke. When choosing matoke or plantain for your recipe, opt for green unripe bananas. Their peels should be green in color, indicating that they are unripe. This is the state in which they are most commonly used for cooking, as their high starch content creates a firm texture. Make sure the bananas are free of bruises, blemishes, and signs of mold for the best results.
To cut your green matoke or banana. using a sharp knife, cut off the ends of each matoke. Then, make a shallow slit along the entire length of the peel, being careful not to cut into the flesh. Afterward, peel the skin away from the flesh, either with your fingers or a knife. Once the matoke is peeled, you can leave them whole or chop them into bite-sized pieces. If you are using plantain, we recommend chopping it into small bite sizes pieces.
To keep matoke fresh before cooking, store them in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Unripe green bananas can be stored at room temperature for up to a week. For longer storage, you can wrap them in a brown paper bag or plastic wrap, which helps to slow down their ripening process. Once you have cooked the matoke, it is best to store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Mash the matoke or leave it whole to your preference. You can mash the matoke once cooked or leave it whole or in small bites depending on your taste.
Health Benefits and Nutrition
Ugandan Matoke, also known as Matooke or cooking bananas, is a staple food in East Africa, which can offer various health benefits. Apart from being a flavorful dish, Matoke contains essential vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. These elements contribute to overall wellness and help in maintaining a balanced diet.
Weight Loss and Digestive System
Matoke is a low-calorie food, making it a perfect choice for people who want to shed some weight without compromising on taste. Moreover, it's high in fiber, which aids in weight loss by supporting digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness. The presence of resistant starch in Matoke also helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system by supporting the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
Immune System and Potassium
Another benefit of incorporating Matoke into your diet is the boost it provides to the immune system. The potassium content in Matoke plays a crucial role in maintaining the proper functioning of the body's cells, tissues, and organs, leading to improved overall health. Additionally, potassium can aid in reducing the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
Antioxidants and Vitamin C
Matoke is a great source of antioxidants, which help combat oxidative stress and protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. These antioxidants contribute to the prevention of certain chronic diseases and support a healthy aging process. Furthermore, the vitamin C content in Matoke helps strengthen the immune system, promotes healthy skin, and enhances the body's ability to absorb iron from plant-based foods, thus ensuring a well-rounded and nutritious meal.
This African Stew is a versatile dish that can be served for both lunch and dinner. When preparing this flavorful meal, we enjoy incorporating a variety of sauces such as tomato sauce, peanut butter sauce, or coconut cream or coconut milk.
We garnish the matoke with some fresh coriander, lemon juice and red chili. You can add your personal touch to this delicious recipe.
To complement the rich flavors of this meal, serve Matoke with a refreshing Kachumbari salad. This East African side dish consists of tomatoes, onions, chilies, and fresh cilantro, lightly mixed together with a dash of lemon or lime juice, salt, and pepper. The acidity and brightness of the Kachumbari salad perfectly balance the savory taste of Matoke, creating a delightful dining experience.
At home, we especially love serving this Ugandan dish with bread, specifically East African Chapati. The dough is typically made with wheat flour, water, and oil, then rolled out, folded, and pan-fried. Pairing Matoke with bread or Chapati and some peanut sauce, makes for a satisfying and filling meal.
Store and Reheat
Once you have cooked the matoke, it is best to store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
To reheat this meal, we recommend adding some more water or stock, to bring it to its initial texture. You can heat the stew using a pan or a microwave.
What is the difference between plantain banana and matoke?
Matoke is a type of banana that is shorter and thicker than plantains. While plantains can also be cooked, matoke is primarily used in cooking and is known for its green peel and shorter length.
What is the traditional method of preparing matoke in Uganda?
Traditionally, matoke is prepared in Uganda by steaming green bananas in banana leaves. The bananas are then mashed and served as a side dish or main course.
What is the English translation of 'matoke'?
The English translation of 'matoke' is 'cooking bananas.' They are a specific variety of bananas that are shorter and thicker than typical bananas and are best suited for cooking due to their starchy texture and unique flavor.
Can I make this dish using ordinary bananas?
Yes. Choose bananas that are still quite unripe and adjust the cooking time depending on how long the bananas take to cook.
- 1 onion
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1 thumb-piece ginger
- ½ red chilli optional for spice
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 fresh tomatoes
- ½ red bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 plantains or 4-5 Matoke
- 300 g black beans canned
- 3 ½ cups vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- Fresh coriander for garnishing
- Prepare the ingredients by finely chopping the onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, red pepper, and optionally, red chili.
- If you are using Matoke, peel the Matoke and leave in a big container with salted water. If you are using Plantain, you don't need to do this.
- Add some vegetable oil to a frying pan and add finely chopped onion, garlic and ginger. Sautée for a couple of minutes. and add the curry powder and cumin.
- When fragrant, add chopped tomatoes, red pepper and tomato paste. Keep stirring for a few minutes.
- Peel the plantains and slice them into small pieces. If you are using Matoke, you can cut them in half length-wise or keep their original size.
- Deglaze the pan with a little bit of water and add the cooked black beans and the plantain. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, bay leaf and bring the pan to a simmer.
- Leave simmering until the plantain becomes fork-tender (about 35 minutes).
- Add some finely chopped coriander and serve.
If you tried our recipe, please leave a comment or tag us on Instagram. We are always happy to see your creations!