If you are eating this Kenyan dish chances are two things have manifested. First, this looks like potatoes. Second, this tastes like potatoes. You are not wrong. Matoke is the dish made from plantains, which are green bananas. They are boiled and served like a stew and are similar in taste and texture to their starchy potato cousin.

My first experience with matoke I had no idea it was a banana. Surprise, surprise. I usually see it served with greens and either beans or green grams, and chapati. I have attempted to recreate matoke from home on occasion with success. You cook it like a potato, so no problems there, it is prepping it that is a bit tricky.

The platain is an underripe green banana with a very tough skin. You have to peel it off with a knife or a peeler if you have a strong one. The inside looks like a banana, except after the skin is peeled the whitish flesh becomes very sticky, and unless you keep it in water before cooking, turns and unpleasant gray color. I find that adding salt to the water helps prevent this from occurring. Rinse them off and then boil until soft.

Plantains are used in many different forms around the world in tropical climates. They can be prepared in a variety of ways and add pizzaz to otherwise traditional dishes. Switch out that boring potato for plaintains sometime and see why they are so popular in tropical cooking, you might never switch back.


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