Matooke is a starchy dish mainly eaten in Uganda and other East African countries like Kenya and Tanzania. It is Uganda’s staple food. This dish is made by boiling and mashing green plantain bananas.
Matooke is served with any type of food and is suitable for all meals.
Besides its unique taste, matooke has several health benefits. Plantain bananas are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. These bananas are particularly rich in vitamins B6 and C, fiber, and potassium, among others.
What Is Matooke?
Outside Uganda, matooke is referred to as plantain or green bananas. Plantains are a type of banana with more starch and less sugar. This causes them to maintain their green color after ripening and only turn yellow or black if they are overripe. Unlike most types of bananas, plantains cannot be eaten raw because they have a high starch content.
Being Uganda’s staple food, matooke can be prepared in a variety of ways. You can boil, steam, fry, roast, or mash the bananas according to your desire.
This is a common way of preparing them.
- Matooke (unripe)
- Cut each end of the bananas, peel them, and wash them in cold water.
- Put them into a pot, add the water, and cover.
- Let them boil for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat and leave them to continue cooking. They will turn yellow when ready.
- Drain the water and mash the bananas using a wooden spoon.
- Wrap the mashed bananas in foil paper or banana leaves and place them in a steaming basket.
- Place the steamer in a large pot and add some water. Let the food steam on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, then serve hot.
Matooke can be served with any meal: breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can also fry the bananas and have them as a snack.
Nutritional Facts of Matooke
The following are some nutritional facts about plantains:
They are a good source of starch. The plantain is an excellent alternative to wheat. It is also a good consistency for soups and porridges. Additionally, plantain is used as a binder in certain confections.
They are rich in potassium. Matooke contains potassium, which may reduce the risk of kidney stones and normalize low blood pressure. Potassium also helps regulate fluid balance, nerve signals, and contraction of muscles.
They are gluten-free. Matooke is a gluten-free crop. This makes it suitable for consumption by people with gluten-related conditions.
They are free of fat. Fats are the main cause of cardiovascular diseases.
They are sugar-free. These raw bananas are healthy, sugar-free food for people with diabetes. Plantains assist in maintaining blood sugar.
They are baby-friendly. Due to the number of nutrients in plantain, they serve as a good base for weaning children.
They can produce instant matooke flours. Plantain contains 8% fiber, making it easy to produce matooke flour.
Health Benefits of Matooke
Most people enjoy eating ripe bananas. While unripe bananas have almost the same nutrient composition, matooke is flavorful and can be mixed with other foods.
If you have never tried plantain, you should try it, as it contains some of these nutrients:
Rich in vitamins and minerals
Raw bananas contain essential vitamins and minerals. They are specifically rich in vitamin C and vitamin B6. Vitamin C is a mineral that is good for healthy hair and skin. It can also boost your immune system. It also contains antioxidants that can protect your body from damage.
On the other hand, vitamin B6 assists with converting food into energy. It is good for heart health and improves brain function. Other nutrients and minerals in matooke include fiber, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, etc.
Green bananas are known for their high fiber content. Food rich in fiber eases the digestion process, reducing constipation. In addition, fiber keeps the blood sugar level well controlled. You can control cholesterol levels in your body by consuming more raw bananas. This promotes the proper functioning of the heart and reduces the risk of stroke. It may also increase the recovery rate of a stroke.
Assists in weight loss
The fiber content present in these bananas is a key to losing weight. Eating food rich in fiber keeps you full for a longer time, reducing appetites. Including a raw banana in your meal also works to prevent you from snacking on unhealthy food if you feel full after consuming them.
Good for heart health
The consumption of bananas is a rich source of potassium. Foods rich in potassium are healthy for the kidneys and also keep your blood pressure in control. Even so, patients with chronic kidney disease are advised to soak the bananas overnight before consuming them.