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Preparing Matooke The Traditional Way;
Matooke - Green Bananas
Matooke is a special kind of plantain that is very much part of Ugandan cuisine. Some have called it 'Green Bananas' but ... Hello! This is MATOOKE made in Uganda.
You can quite easily pick up Matooke from one of the local markets. In the Central, East and West you will find it in plenty. The prices tend to go higher as we get closer to Christmas and possibly Easter - these are special days for special meals ... and therefore Matooke will be on most of the menus.
It's usually sold in bunches, clusters or heaps/piles - depending on how much you need, 4/5 fingers will serve one person.
... And so that you know; Matooke is ready and harvested green from the garden. Once peeled, it is white / yellowish and then yellow when cooked.
Right! Let's get down to cooking some matooke - the traditional way;
Here is what you will need;
Preparation: 1 - 1.5 hours (which you can do in phases)
Serves: About 5
20 -25 good size matooke fingers - You could get these in clusters.
5/6 plantain leaves - preferably fresh.
A piece of the plantain stalk - about 30cm
Dry Plantain fibre - about 2 metres.
Water (you need about a litre or 2)
Peel the matooke - This is where you need a bit of skill achieved over time through practice. You will need a sharp knife - carefully peeling off the green skin and leaving the white/yellowish part for cooking. Be cautious with the knife not to lose a lot of the flesh to waste with the green peels.
Tip; To save you the hassle of peeling, you could kindly request one of the women at the market to do the peeling for you. They could do it for a little token ... but they will be more than willing to do that for you.
If you decide to do the peeling yourself, be sure to generously oil your fingers before the peeling - experience says, this repels the sticky sap from sticking to your fingers - getting it off can be some annoying job!
Dispose off the green peels and give the matooke a quick wash to get rid of the sticky sap.
Depending on the size of the pot/pan, cut/chop the plantain stalk to pieces of about 10/15cm that can fit in the bottom of the pot/pan. Place the stalk pieces in the bottom of the pan/pot to as high as 2 inches ... add water just to cover the stalks.
Then place two plantain fibres - one over the other and across (forming a cross) in the pot/pan on top of the stalks, ... and place a fresh plantain leaf - be sure to fold it through the middle to give a firm base.
Place the peeled matooke on/in the leaf and carefully follow the basic priciples of folding a wrap and carefully secure the wrap with the fibres. You should have a good secured wrap that you can now sit on top of the stalks in the pan/pot.
With the extra plantain leaves, cover up the wrapped matooke in the pan/pot to form a quick steamer. The cover should be enough to retain most of the steam from the boiling.
Bring to the boil - this should take 30/45 minutes - be sure not to let the water run dry, otherwise you will burn the stalk at the bottom which will give off a burnt-smell that will have an effect on the taste of the matooke. Not a good smell! - shows how experienced one is.
Take it off the boil, open it up - that matooke should be ready now (turned to yello)
Then comes the fancy bit - the mashing. Quickly tighten the fibres to further secure the wrap.
With the extra leaves, mash the matooke with your fingers - careful this can be hot! Have some cold water to deep you fingers once it feels blazing. It's fascinating to see how the Ugandan ladies do this!
At this point the matooke is ready for serving ... but you could go for more aroma!
Place the mashed wrap back into the pan/pot with the stalks, have a quick check on the water - fill up if low ... and cover up again with the extra leaves. Place back on the boil for 5 minutes, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20/30 minutes then serve. You could use this time to prepare a sauce/stew to go with the matooke.
It's quite nice with chicken stew, beef stew, fish stew or groundnut (peanut) sauce.
You could choose to have it as part of the main dish with rice, posho, beans, chapati and more ...
Wala! there you go with your first shot at preparing traditional matooke. Let me know how it went using the comments section at the bottom ... and not just that, you could discover something new and different with cooking matooke - Share it! Use the comments section below to share your recipe.
Wow! that is the most detailed recipe I have come across - what do you think? Enjoy!
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