East African Mtori Soup

Image: Mtori, an East African Plantain and Beef Soup


Mtori is a traditional East African meat and plantain soup that is a classic dish in Tanzania at meal time.

To Serve 4 to 6
  • 3 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1 quarter water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 medium-sized ripe plaintains (about 1-1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced into rounds 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 medium-sized boiling potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and quartered, then placed in a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration
  • 2 medium-sized onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Combine the short ribs, water and salt in a heavy 3- to 4-quart casserole and bring to a boil over high heat, meanwhile skimming off the foam as it rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered for 1-1/2 hours. Add the plaintains, drained potatoes and onions, and continue simmering for about 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the potatoes can be mashed easily with a fork.

With a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the short ribs to a plate. Remove the bones, cut away the fat and gristle, and discard them. Cut the meat into 1/2-inch pieces.

Puree the soup through a food mill set over a bowl and return it to the casserole. Stir in the butter and meat and simmer for a few minutes to reheat the soup. Taste for seasoning and serve at once from a heated bowl or individual soup plates. Although called a soup, this is more like a thick stew and in East Africa is served as a main course.