A few weeks ago, my uninsulated house had a chill that I couldn’t get rid of. I don’t think it was a coincidence that I started craving my grandmother’s food. matoke — small, thick green bananas, simmer with sautéed onions, tomatoes, and spices until the sauce turns dark and glossy, and the starchy bananas become soft enough to break in half with a few fingers tucked behind the folds of a chapati.
My grandmother was born in Mbale, Eastern Uganda, and lived in Nairobi, where the bananas of the East African Highlands are abundant. Since I couldn’t find them locally in Los Angeles, I bought a bunch of Thai green bananas from the supermarket and peeled them instead. The result is nourishing and sturdy – just what I needed!
Bananas and bananas are everyday ingredients for chefs around the world, and for good reason. They are often sold in a variety of grocery stores, so they are easy to find. If you haven’t reached for them in your delicious dish yet, read the beautiful and practical poem by Yewande Komolafe Go to fruit to learn more.
Bananas are delicious and versatile at most every stage of their lifeso go ahead and buy a bunch, more than you might need for a meal, and cook with them as they ripen.
First, you can boil the green, unripe banana tops to get the substance and body into a large pot. asaro or vegetable maaféor grate them to make soft dumplings for a hot bowl ganglion. You can fry them to make vegetarian dishes mofongo – pay attention to Von Diaz’s note at the top and omit the pork, but be a little more generous with the garlic and olive oil. Or fry the green banana twice (!) for a crispy crust Pebble.
When the fruit begins to ripen, the skin turns from green to yellow with a few black freckles, you can boil it to eat with some stewed spinach. Finally, when the banana is super ripe, the skin is more black than the yellow, it’s time to do it maduro.
One more thing
In case you missed it, I really enjoyed Ligaya Mishan’s latest column on the origin of custard cake, “born of American ingenuity, and perhaps peculiar American desperation.” The classic cake, made with oil instead of butter and brightened with whipped egg whites, was the invention of a former insurance agent named Harry Baker – but it’s a weirder story than mine. thought.
And formula which Ligaya adapted, from pastry chef Christopher Tan, looks delicious, packed with citrus peels and juices.
Thank you for reading The Veggie, and see you next week!