This hearty stew takes its name from the green bananas or plantains known as matoke that are used to make it. It is a national dish of Uganda, where plantains are a staple part of the local diet, and variations of the stew are made in other East African countries such as Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking: about 1 hour

Serves 4

3-4 green plantains, depending on size (see TIP)
Juice of 1 lemon
2tbsp oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
500g lean minced beef
1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 large red or green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
300 ml beef stock
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Peel the plantains and cut them into 2cm slices. Put the slices in a bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Pour over boiling water to cover, set aside until the water feels cool and then drain.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook over a low heat until softened. Add the minced beef and fry until the meat browns, stirring frequently and breaking up any lumps with a spoon.

Add the green pepper and chilli and stir in the curry powder, coriander and cumin. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes and stock.

Bring to the boil, lower the heat under the pan and stir in the plantains. Cover the pan and simmer gently for about 45 minutes or until the plantains are tender and the meat is fragrant with the spices. Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped coriander.

TIP – Plantains are different from ordinary bananas in that they are larger, have pointed ends and are inedible raw. They can be found in African and Caribbean food shops and markets.


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