How to cook matoke (plantains) the Ugandan way

Matoke is a very popular dish in the Republic of Uganda, which is situated in East Africa. Matoke is comprised of plantains. The plantain is a fruit that closely resembles the banana in appearance. Unlike bananas, however, plantains are eaten cooked, rather than raw. They can be cooked by steaming or boiling. Preparing matoke is not a difficult task, providing that certain guidelines are carefully followed.

Steaming method

Peel the plantains. Place the skins and the stalks to one side, as they will be needed later. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the plantains into small pieces. Cut the skins into strips. The next step is to wrap the sliced plantain in the skins. Make sure that the fruit is completely covered by the skins. Position the stalks on the base of the cooking pot. This prevents the skins from sticking to the pot during the steaming process. Pour around three to four inches of water into the cooking pot. The plantains are now ready to be steamed.

Place the pot onto an oven-ring or directly above an open fire. Lower the wrapped plantains onto the stalks. The steaming process takes around 3 hours. Ensure that there is always sufficient water in the pot to allow for steaming to occur. When steaming is complete, drain the remaining water out of the pot.

Lift the hot, wrapped plantain pieces out of the pot using oven gloves. Place the steamed items onto a large plate and, while still wrapped, mash them using a fork. You have now successfully prepared matoke by the steaming method. Serve the mashed matoke on fresh, uncut leaves.

Boiling method

Peel the plantains, cut them into small pieces and wrap them in their leaves. Place enough vegetable oil into a frying pan to cover its base, to a depth of around 5mm (0.2 inches).

Wait until the oil is hot, then pour in the stewing meat. Let it simmer until fully cooked. Slice up several onions and add them to the pot. Finally, place the wrapped plantains in the pan.

Watch the plantains, checking periodically to see if they are soft. When they are soft to the touch, the dish is ready to serve.


Always prepare matoke using fresh, ripe plantains.


Never cook plantains without first wrapping them in their skins. Too much direct water exposure can affect the taste of the plantains.

Things You'll Need

  • Plantains
  • Knife
  • Cooking pot
  • Water
  • Oven gloves
  • Large plate
  • Frying pan
  • Stewing meat
  • Fork
  • Onions
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Nick Redfern is the author of many books on UFOs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Hollywood scandal and much more. He has worked as a writer for more than two decades and has written for the Daily Express, Military Illustrated and Penthouse.