Saturday 23 February 2019

Matoke Bhel- East African street food

I lived in East Africa for eight years of my life and I have very fond memories of the food there. Street food was something we loved and I have a very vivid memory of one such street vendor who used to daily serve the Matoke (green raw banana) right outside my school gates. It was a simple dish but as they say its simplicity at its best and sometimes uncomplicated dishes are the ones that have the greatest taste.

Coming to the Matoke Bhel, it was simply matoke boiled in their skins, the vendor would then fish them out of the simmering pan and peel and mash them into a tin dish. He would add lemon juice, salt, chilli powder and a dash of oil and mash it all together. The matoke mash was then transferred to a serving dish, it was topped with thin slivers of red onion, finely chopped chillies and a generous helping of a crunchy snack called chivda (a spicy fried beaten rice, potato crisps and peanut mixture). Finally it was finished with a garnish of finely chopped coriander leaves and served with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and more sprinkling of chilli powder for those who liked it spicy!!

The spicy tangy flavours and the crunch from the toppings made this streetfood snack the best thing I have ever tasted. I fact my mouth waters every time I think of it. I have tried to recreate this dish again in my kitchen and it was definitely the best thing I have eaten. I can't believe I waited so long to prepare this amazing streetfood snack.

Yield: serves 2

Matoke (Raw Green Banana) Bhel

African Street food boiled matoke flavoured with simple spices and garnished with onions, chillies and a crunchy savory snack topping.
prep time: 5 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 25 mins


  • 6 Matoke (Raw green banana)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons sun flower oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 springs of fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli finely chopped
  • 100 gram chivda (spicy snack)
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges
  • 1 small red onion finely sliced


  1. Place the matoke without peeling in to a large pan of water and boil for 20 minutes, you can see the matoke are ready when the skins start to split open.
  2. Once the matoke is boiled remove from the pan and peel the skin off. Place it in a bowl and mash it with a potato masher.
  3. Add salt, chili powder, lemon juice and the oil and mix well.
  4. Transfer the seasoned matoke to two serving bowls and garnish with the onion slices, the chivda and the chopped coriander. Serve hot with extra lemon wedges.


If you dont have any chivda you can just add some potato chips scrunched and some roasted peanuts instead.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I am sending this recipe to an event hosted by Mirelle of The Schizo Chef to celebrate African Food week.

Other Diaspora Cuisine recipes:


  1. This looks sooo good. I love green bananas so I know I would devour this :)

  2. Looks super delicious! I personally can't wait to try it! Looks very impressive!

  3. I've not heard of a few of those ingredients, however the final product looks absolutely delish. Thanks for sharing.

  4. The bananas are so small. The raw ones we get in India are bigger size.The combination of chivda and banana is something new for me. Moreover the recipe looks easy to prepare. :)

  5. This is an interesting dish! I have not heard of much stuff but I want to try it out

  6. Omg this honestly made me feel so hungry. I love trying out diff foods from diff cultures! Thanks for the share ❤️

  7. Yum, this looks so delicious and so easy at the same time! Great recipe!

  8. This sounds so tasty, and the pictures are not what I expected. It looks amazing, a plate of colour.

  9. I Love Motoke but never tried Moteke bhel. This sounds really tasty.

  10. I have always heard street food rocks. I love the tang and spicy things, so I bet this would appease.

  11. it's funny I LOVE plantains but I don't like green bananas - in the Caribbean they call the green banana fig and it's common but I just find it too starchy - regardless this version of behl looks so inviting

  12. Oh Wow! This looks interesting and delicious too. I would love to try this recipe at home. Thanks for sharing

  13. Just getting bto know about this for the first time and i must say it looks quite good and i would love to give it a try someday to know it's taste.

  14. This looks really good and I'll definitely try this one. Thanks for sharing.

  15. What a wonderful way to enjoy plantains or matoke. Will have to try out this recipe.

  16. Interesting recipe.. can we make it with raw bananas available here ?

  17. This food looks so yummy. Here is no raw green banana. So, can I use potato or sweet potato instead of green banana? Great recipes.

  18. Nayna- Just visiting this Post again to check how to make the bhel. I am looking forward to making it today.


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