Sukuma Wiki with Matoke (Beef Stew with Mashed Plantains)

The Kenyan lunch known as sukuma wiki—a combination of collard greens, chile-flecked ground meat, and tomatoes served with cornmeal or mashed plantain—is such a fortifying part of the workweek that its name means “week pusher”. This version combines curry-laced stewed beef, wilted spinach, and savory mashed plantains. This recipe first appeared in our May 2014 issue with the story Desk Lunch: Global Takeout.

Sukuma Wiki with Matoke (Beef Stew with Mashed Plantains) Sukuma Wiki with Matoke (Beef Stew with Mashed Plantains)
This hearty dish of curry-laced stewed beef, wilted spinach, and savory mashed plantains is a popular takeaway lunch order in Kenya.
Yield: serves 6

FOR THE MATOKE

  • 4 slightly ripe plantains, peeled and sliced 1/2″ thick
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 14 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 14 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 13 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 plum tomato, cored and roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

FOR THE STEW

  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 lb. boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/4″ pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium yellow onions, minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. hot paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste
  • 1 (2″) piece ginger, peeled and mashed into a paste
  • 3 canned whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 bunch spinach, tough stems trimmed, leaves thinly sliced
  • Small red and green Thai chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the matoke: Stir plantains, lemon juice, and 3 cups boiling water in a bowl; when water is cool, drain plantains and set aside. Melt butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook garlic, bell pepper, and onion until soft, 8–10 minutes. Add curry, coriander, and cumin; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add reserved plantains, the stock, cilantro, tomato, salt, and pepper; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, slightly covered, until plantains are very tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover and lightly mash; keep warm.
  2. Make the stew: Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper and add to pan all at once; cook until browned, 6–8 minutes. Push meat to one side of pan. Add onions and bell pepper; cook until soft, 3–4 minutes. Add curry, paprika, garlic, and ginger; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes; simmer. Stir in cherry tomatoes, spinach, salt, and pepper; cook until spinach is wilted, 2–3 minutes. Serve with matoke and sliced chiles.