Asaro is a tasty Nigerian plantain curry recipe that is cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. Let me show you how to make my version with this easy recipe.
What is plantain curry?
This recipe is my own take on Asaro, which is a Nigerian dish of root vegetables cooked in a tomato and chilli sauce. The original also has more of a porridge-like consistency. I pay homage to the original but I am not replicating it.
Asaro is served all over the south of Nigeria and also in other countries in West Africa. I've substituted the West African yam with an ordinary white ram since i'm limited to ingredients I can source locally. My version uses green plantains because they are firmer and less likely to disintegrate into the sauce and I get the depth of flavour from the ginger, garlic and scotch bonnet.
There is a relatively spicy curry but not overbearing. Just add a little more coconut milk if it is too spicy for your palate.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (tomato puree)
- 1 whole Scotch bonnet chilli
- 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
- 1 ½ pounds white yams, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 plantains, peeled and sliced
- 1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 large handfuls of kale, sliced
Heat a stock pot or large saucepan over a medium heat. Once hot add the vegetable oil. Add the onion, garlic and ginger saute for 2-3 minutes until softened but not crispy. Don't overcook or the garlic becomes bitter.
Add the tomato paste to your pot and stir to combine, you want your other ingredients covered in the paste. Add 2-3 cups of water and turn up the heat to high until boiling. When you have a rolling boil add salt and turn the heat back down to medium.
Add the tomatoes, scotch bonnet and yams to the pot and boil for 15-20 minutes or until yams are almost soft.
Add the plantains and coconut milk and cook for 5-10 minutes more until the plantains have softened.
Season with a little more salt and add the kale and gently cook until the greens are soft but don't overcook or the yams and plantains will go mushy.
Serve your plantain curry on it's own or with rice.
Questions and tips
What is a good substitute for plantain?
If you can't find plantains in your local area, you could try substituting with unripe bananas or even bananas. Bananas are part of the same family as plantain whilst potatoes are starchy just like plantain.
Can you eat a yellow plaintain?
You can use yellow ones for this recipe but you'll need to adjust the cooking time as they take less time to become tender. They're also sweeter in flavour.
Are plantains healthy?
Plantains are nutritionally like a potato, calorie-wise, but they have more vitamins and minerals. They're a great source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and B-6, and the minerals magnesium and potassium. They are particularly good for a vegan diet.