Without doubt, Matooke - a special kind of plantain, is the most famous dish in Uganda. You could call it Uganda's national dish - if you like, for; it's generally enjoyed in many parts of the country.
The Central Region is quite fond of Matooke - Buganda in particular and perhaps its origin and introduction to Uganda can be traced in this region too. The Western Region - Mbarara, Bushenyi, Ntungamo ... have quite strongly taken on matooke growing; turning it into a cash crop that guarantees income for the household.
... But lest I forget, make no mistake! Matooke is not 'bananas' - You won't quite easily get away with this in Uganda. Even if you called it 'Green bananas' like many attempt to, you will still get some amused faces.
Matooke at a local Market - Photo by; sarahemcc
'Bananas' are a different kind of plantain that will eventually ripen and turn from green to yellow - which calls for quite a bit of patience before you can eat them - and which reminds me of my childhood days when we used to edgily check on them almost every hour just in case they instantly magically turned to yellow (ready to eat).
You can never cook 'Bananas' for Matooke - That would be considered bizarre! I guess the taste would be awful too!
There are various kinds of bananas too. You will find the long/big fingers (bogoya) and the small fingers (ndizi) - I quite like these - they simply melt away in the mouth with sweetness. The small-finger bananas are also used to make Ugandan pancakes - I bet, these are not like anything you've tried before! They are sensational and a treat especially for the kids.
Gonja on the BBQ
... And then my favourite of all; 'Gonja' - Totally different type of plantain that is best prepared over a BBQ. This is a common delicacy with the road side markets that you find along the major highways. You could choose to steam it - gives it a different variation in texture and taste of course.
Have you tried Matooke before? ... Perhaps you have even cooked it. Why not share with us you experiences here.
You will get quite some variations in cooking matooke across the country. It can be steamed or boiled then mashed before serving with rice, beef or chicken stew or simply fried and mixed with some vegetables, beef and ghee (the mixture commonly known as 'katogo') then served.
Whichever way, you will have a true lovely Ugandan cuisine.
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