Saturday, October 23, 2010

What's for Dinner? Matoke!

As you worship plantain, remember to worship banana as well.
Ghanaian Proverb

I sampled a dish made with plantains when I was in Kenya. I liked it very much but had a hard time locating a recipe that would replicate the particular dish I sampled.

Today I came across this recipe that reminded me very much of the dish even though it is called "Ugandan Matoke" so I decided to try it out.  I found the recipe at, although I've also seen it on a website featuring recipes from the Congo. See here if interested.  It stands to reason that this dish would be cooked in several different countries since these countries are not terribly far from one another and they all grow and eat plantains.

This is what the cook who provided the recipe on had to say about Matoke:
Matoke (or Matooke) refer to the plantain or plantain banana in Uganda, where plantains are a staple crop. In Uganda, plantain bananas are often wrapped in plantain leaves and steamed until tender. This dish can be made with or without the meat.

So without further ado, here is a recipe that will easily feed 4-6 people even with the recipe modifications I've noted at the bottom of this post.

 * 8 -10 plantains
* 1 lemon, juice of (optional)
* oil (for frying)
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 -3 tomatoes, chopped (or canned whole tomatoes, drained)
* 1 green bell pepper, chopped
* 3 -4 garlic cloves, crushed
* 1 chili pepper, chopped (optional)
* salt or coriander or cayenne pepper (to taste) or red pepper (to taste)
* 1 lb ground beef (optional) or 1 lb beef stew meat, cut in bite-sized pieces (optional)
* 1 cup beef broth (optional) or 1 cup beef stock (optional)


Prep Time: 20 mins

Total Time: 1 1/2 hrs

1. Peel the plantains, cut into cubes, sprinkle with lemon juice, and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large pan. Fry the onion, tomatoes, green pepper, hot pepper, and garlic together. Add spices to taste. Add meat or broth. Continue frying and stirring until the meat is nearly done or until the broth is starting to boil.
3. Reduce heat. Add plantains. Cover and simmer over low heat until plantains are tender and meat is done. Serve matoke (matooke, if you prefer) hot.

Recipe from

My modifications:

I used 6 large plantains rather than 8-10. I cut up part of a roast for stew meat (and froze the other part for roasting another time). I used a large can of whole tomatoes which I forgot to drain first.  I also added beef broth to the mix. Altogether this was more liquid than called for in the recipe but it  worked out okay.  My cast iron pan is very large and there is no lid large enough to cover it so enough liquid evaporated during the cooking process.

I could have cooked the plantains longer but I was afraid they might turn to mush as they were a bit too ripened when I bought them. They were yellow in colour rather than green.  This means they were also a little softer and a little sweeter.  The sweetness didn't pose a problem.  I added some hot chili and coriander to the mix so that tempered the sweetness.  Next time I will use my heavy dutch oven to cook this dish.  That way everything will be thoroughly cooked, heated and tenderized.  Overall though the dish was very tasty!  See the finished dish in the photos below.

I enjoyed  making and eating this dish and will definitely make it again. I was so hungry when I made it for dinner last night (Saturday) that I couldn't wait until everything was cooked to perfection so I intend to cook it longer in the dutch oven next time.

If you decide to make this dish please let me (us) know how it works out!


Diary From Africa said...

It looks delicious - you did a great job !

Joyful said...

Thanks LYNDA! I couldn't wait ;-)

Ginny Hartzler said...

So it is kind of like a stew, what a bright color, rather fall like. I have never tasted a plantain, How does the taste compare to bananas and do they keep just as long?

Joyful said...

Hi GINNY, yes it kind of like a stew. I did end up cooking it long after eating my first bowl so the colour became more muted. A plantain for cooking this dish is usually green or unripe. You can see from my photo that they are rather yellow and when they change colour like this they become sweeter and are used in other kind of dishes. I think the plantains keep longer and tend to stay green a bit longer than a banana but they are quite a bit the same in taste once the plantains are yellow.

Skywatch Friday ~ February 23, 2024

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, We've had a few days of beautiful weather though now we are back to rain. I think Spring is just arou...