By Annah Nafula
There is a common joke about the baganda is;a muganda will out rightly say a meal without matooke is not food it doesnt matter how heavy.
That explains the value attached to matooke in most western, central and eastern parts of Uganda. The food is highly celebratory as it is served at all special functions in these parts of the country.
In the past owning a huge plantation of matooke was prestigious and equally amounted to being wealthy. Having and maintaining this annual crop takes some real attention.
The tasteless berry is commonly peeled, wrapped in banana leaves, smashed and simmered; usually enjoyed with stews commonly groundnut stew.
There are different types of matooke preparation and the common ones include;
Katogo is a mixture of foods and ingredients to create just one dish. The most common katogo served in Ugandan restaurants and homes is the matooke and tripe/meat/gnuts/beans. In this, vegetables and spices are added. The scrumptious dish is usually served for breakfast across the country.
Steamed matooke is usually cooked at ceremonies and usual family meals. The intricacy in preparing this particular type of matooke is what makes it a distinct dish. The matooke is carefully peeled, washed, wrapped carefully in banana leaves, smashed and simmered. The longer the dish is simmered on low heat the better. The ready matooke is usually enjoyed with stews like beef, groundnut, beans, peas depending on what is available.
This is a common meal at Uganda berbeques. The roasted matooke is usually raosted alongside meats. It is a meal usually enjoyed with roasted beef, pork, chicken usually topped with a very nice well seasoned kacumbari or avocado.
Ripe matooke is usually very sweet and can be perfect for use in a banana cake. The aroma of this cake is as irresistible.