How to Prepare Matoke

  • 01 of 04

    What Is Matoke?

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    Matoke is a variety of banana indigenous to South West Uganda. They come from the family of bananas known as the East African highland bananas. They are used mainly for cooking when they are green and unripe. Once cooked and mashed, they are most notable as being the national dish of Uganda.

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  • 02 of 04

    Appearance of Matoke

    N. Sheard

    Matoke are shorter than ordinary bananas. They appear to be thick at the midsection due to their shorter than average length. The peel is green in color when they are unripe, which is the state in which they are most commonly used. The flesh is particularly hard due to the high starch content. It is necessary to cook the matoke very well prior to consumption.

    The most common methods of cooking matoke are boiling, steaming, or roasting. Once they are cooked, the flesh turns yellow and if cooked...MORE well when boiled, should soften to about the same consistency as potatoes. They will however still hold their form.

    If the green matoke is left for too long, they will ripen as ordinary bananas would. When ripe, they are very sweet and can be eaten as normal fruit. Due to the high price, this is considered a waste because matoke is most loved as a green cooking banana and is somewhat of a luxury.

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  • 03 of 04

    Peel Matoke

    Peel Matoke With a Knife
    N. Sheard

    Matoke cannot be peeled in the same way as ordinary bananas when they are unripe. In fact, matoke are sometimes referred to as plantains because they are cooking bananas. Plantains are relatively easy to peel. They need to be cut at each end and slit along the length of the skin before peeling back. Matoke are a little more complicated.

    To peel them, cut off the tips at each end of the banana. The banana, including the skin, is very hard such that it is not easy to penetrate with the tip of a...MORE knife. Therefore, it is necessary to peel the skin off by placing the knife at one end of the cut off tips, ensuring it is just under the peel, and pulling back towards your body. This would be similar to peeling a potato with a knife. Extra care needs to be taken to do this in order to avoid any accidental cuts.

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  • 04 of 04

    Place Matoke in Salted Water

    Matoke in Water
    N. Sheard

    Once the green peel is off, this will reveal the white flesh of the matoke. When the flesh is exposed to air, it will quickly begin to discolor. In order to prevent this, immediately place the peeled bananas into a bowl of salted water. Completely submerge them to ensure the air is kept away until you have peeled the entire batch of matoke. They are now ready to cook. 

    The simplest way to do this is to boil them for up to 30 minutes. Check that it has been cooked in 2 ways. First, check that the...MORE color has changed to yellow. To ensure it has been cooked well, pass a fork or knife through a piece. If it goes through without much resistance, then you know they are ready to eat.