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.
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
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.