Josy’s Ibitoke

So. It’s no secret.

I love bananas. It IS the food of Eastern Rwanda, where I spent so much of my time while a volunteer. And even since being in Kigali, I’ve continued to cook the stuff. A couple weeks ago, our helper around the house taught me her method to her recipe. I have always loved cooking them, but every Rwandan does it a little differently. Here’s her approach. Oh, and they are frickin’ delicious.

What you need

4-5 bananas per person eating

3 beautiful red tomatoes

3 small eggplants

1 green pepper

2 medium sized onions (I believe you can never have enough onion!)

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 cup of water (for peanut flour mixture)

1 cup of peanut flour

A hungry stomach (these babies will fill you up!)

*

Start with a group of green bananas. Wash thoroughly  to remove outside "sticky stuff" that can leave stains on your hands. Choose around 4-5 bananas for each person. Especially if you are hungry!

Start with a group of green bananas. Wash thoroughly to remove outside “sticky stuff” that can leave stains on your hands. Choose around 4-5 bananas for each person. Especially if you are hungry!

Peel with a knife the green skin to leave the banana clean and soaking in a basin of water.

Peel with a knife the green skin to leave the banana clean and soaking in a basin of water.

Here is what the peel should look like "post-cut"; makes for great compost!

Here is what the peel should look like “post-cut”; makes for great compost!

Place cut bananas in a pot of hot water. Bring to a boil and let cook for 20 minutes. You want the bananas to be very soft for mashing later in the process!

Place cut bananas in a pot of hot water. Bring to a boil and let cook for 20 minutes. You want the bananas to be very soft for mashing later in the process!

While the bananas are cooking, begin to cut the vegetables. Cut onions and green pepper together. Keep eggplant separate.

While the bananas are cooking, begin to cut the vegetables. Cut onions and green pepper together. Keep eggplant separate.

Using the olive oil, begin to  cook vegetables, starting with the onion and pepper. Simmer, but cook to keep crispy.

Using the olive oil, begin to cook vegetables, starting with the onion and pepper. Simmer, but cook to keep crispy.

After about 8 minutes, add tomatoes, over low heat. Stir together and let cook for an additional 10 minutes. You can also add the eggplant at this time.

After about 8 minutes, add tomatoes, over low heat. Stir together and let cook for an additional 10 minutes. You can also add the eggplant at this time.

Here is Josy working her magic!

Here is Josy working her magic!

While the vegetables roast together, you can mix peanut flour in a cup with water. Once the mixture is dissolved, you can add it together with the cooked vegetables. Add spices. Let the sauce simmer and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes for flavor.

While the vegetables roast together, you can mix peanut flour in a cup with water. Once the mixture is dissolved, you can add it together with the cooked vegetables. Add spices. Let the sauce simmer and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes for flavor. Add additional water as needed.

While sauce is developing flavor, you can now remove the water from the bananas! They should be soft and ready for mashing.

While sauce is developing flavor, you can now remove the water from the bananas! They should be soft and ready for mashing.

They will look something like this.

They will look something like this.

Begin to "mash". Unlike other Rwandan cooking methods, you approach the bananas in a "up and down" approach. Mash quickly, moving up and down, not in circles. This creates a solid mixture of nanas! Add a tablespoon of olive oil so it will act as an adhesive to keep the banana mash together.

Begin to “mash”. Unlike other Rwandan cooking methods, you approach the bananas in a “up and down” approach. Mash quickly, moving up and down, not in circles. This creates a solid mixture of nanas! Add a tablespoon of olive oil so it will act as an adhesive to keep the banana mash together.

Once finished, the mixture should be stable together. You can place a plate over the pot and flip it upside down so the bananas form together in the plate as shown here.

Once finished, the mixture should be stable together. You can place a plate over the pot and flip it upside down so the bananas form together in the plate as shown here.

Voila! Finished!

Voila! Finished!

The sauce should now be ready for tasting. Add salt and pepper as necessary.

The sauce should now be ready for tasting. Add salt and pepper as necessary.

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