Plantain Curry, the Gujarati Way

The upcoming EYHO trip to Kenya and Tanzania brings tastes from back home to mind. As an Indian growing up in Kenya, my family’s meals were mostly Gujarati in composition. Occasionally, a Kenyan ingredient found itself into hallowed menus, and quickly become a star.

Plaintains are one such star. My mother initially sliced, fried, squeezed lemon on and sprinkled salt and cayenne for an afternoon snack with chai. One day, at the end of a vegetable shopping cycle, she sliced some plantains and cooked them up with lots of garlic, lashings of tomatoes, coriander, and the usual Indian spices. The result resides in my memory as the best all-time comfort curry. It blends Kenyan with Indian – in much the same way as me.

This recipe calls for a pressure cooker.

Recipe

2 large plantains, the greener the better, peeled and sliced into 1″ discs. Submerge in water until ready to cook.

3 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup sliced red and green peppers

2 tbsp cooking oil

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp chilli powder or cayenne

Salt to taste

1 cup chopped coriander, divided into 1/2 cup each

2 cups water

In pressure cooker , heat the oil until just below smoking point. Add cumin and brown. Fry garlic for 30 seconds. Immediately add drained plantains, peppers, tomatoes, turmeric and chilli powder, salt, and 1/2 cup coriander. Stir to coat mixture evenly with oil. Toss in the water and seal pressure cooker. Cook on high until whistle blows. Lower heat and cook for further 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool until pressure cooker safety catch allows opening – about 15 mins. Transfer to serving dish, top with remaining coriander, and serve immediately with naan or chapatis.

To eat, tear off a piece and scoop up the plantain with sauce. Allow to melt in mouth and lick fingers. Repeat.

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About Shila Desai

Conceptualiser of Unpackaged Travels (www.eyhotours.com). Writer. Culinary diva when someone else does the dishes.
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5 Responses to Plantain Curry, the Gujarati Way

  1. Susan says:

    I love plantains! I love curried plantains! This looks wonderful.

  2. Bhavna says:

    Mmmmmm….. Yes, this used to be one of my favorites.. especially the way Mum cooked it! Same goes with Yam curry! I might add for those who do not use a pressure cooker… it is easy to just boil the plantains in a covered pot with the peel on. Do not cook fully, Drain water, peel the plantains (it is much easier on the hands to peel after boiling – otherwise you wont get the muck off your hands easily. If you do get the sticky stuff, rub your hands with some table salt). I prefer to boil first and then peel. Cut into discs and then let cook some more in the gravy. Plantains here do not need much cooking time, and pressuring them might make them mushy. Try it and enjoy! Yams (or Cassava) can be done the same way. Easier to buy frozen yams from the chinese or indian freezer section. Boil until tender, Then cook in the same gravy. Delicious!!

  3. Azmena says:

    Here’s a comment from my Food Consultant Beyond Compare

    Hi Shila,

    I don’t think Plantains are the same as Matokes – the green bananas we used to cook with in Kenya.  You can only cook matokes green, they are never allow to ripen.  They are much shorter than plantains.

    Mum used to cook plantains often, we had to wait until they were almost over ripe before she would slice and fry them for breakfast, like they are served in Guate.  We also used to cook them in coconut milk as a dessert.  Of course in central america, there are several plantain recipes and in Honduras you can hardly have a meal without fried plantain.  

    Through my travels, the only place I found where unripe plantains are cooked is in Panama, where they peel and cut about 2″ chunks, fry them, flatten them and re-fry them – like flattened disks, nice and crispy and eaten in place of french fries – called patacones.  I have also eaten them in Guate, but they are called tostones!

    However, those green bananas called matoke were always cooked green and would cook up to a mush – we used to cook them with beef/chicken etc and coconut milk – similar to Kukupaka.

    Then, there is another type of banana which is steamed and served with chai in Kerala!!

    I maybe wrong – but that’s my take on bananas!!

    Asmena

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