Uganda's National Dish Matoke Is Easy To Recreate At Home

Have you ever bitten into a raw banana? Yeah, it’s not a great experience. But there is a whole sub-section of green bananas that were designed to be eaten cooked, almost like a substitute for potatoes. Green bananas also called cooking bananas, are a staple food around most of Africa, the Caribbean, South America and South East Asia. They are rich in potassium and are a good source of fibre and are a hearty base for many dishes. 

One popular favourite from Uganda is Matoke – a name that refers to the small green banana that’s typically used in this dish. Because it’s cheap, filling and delicious, Matoke is readily available across Uganda and other countries of South Africa. The dish celebrates those little green bananas for being a filling, delicious, staple ingredient in themselves. It’s often served along with meat, fish, peanut sauce or vegetables but if you want to enjoy Matoke alone or as a side dish, go for it!


  • 1 whole chicken (about 1 kg)
  • 4 tbsp butter or ghee, groundnut oil can be used if preferred
  • 4 medium onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 - 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 red or green chillies
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup single cream
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 8 semi ripe plantains
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of ½ – 1 lemon/lime
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
  • Water


  • Remove the skin and cut the chicken into small pieces (about 8 – 10);  chop the onions;  crush the garlic;  finely chop the chillies;  peel and cut the tomatoes into small pieces;  peel and cut the plaintains into 3 cm rounds and put them in a bowl, spinkled with juice of ½ lemon/lime to stop discolouration;  finely chop the coriander leaves for garnish. 
  • In a large saucepan, fry the onions in the butter, until golden.
  • Add the tomato puree, garlic and chillies, stir and add the chicken pieces and cook, stirrring occasionally until they start browning, and add 2 cups of water.
  • Boil for 20 minutes at medium to high heat and add the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper,.
  • Lower the heat and add the peanut butter and blend it in well, cooking for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the plaintain pieces, cream, remaining lemon juice and 2 more cups of water.
  • Partially cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, checking occasionally and stirring to see the contents do not burn.
  • When the plaintains and chicken are cooked through (the point of a knife poked in meets no resistence) with a thickish sauce, cover, turn off the heat and leave to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
  • Check the seasoning.
  • Put into the serving dish and garnish with the coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with plain boiled white rice, and any vegetable side dish.