Do you love roasted street Ugandan gonja fingers? The good news for you is that you can roast your gonja at home. Here is how to roast gonja on a stove.
Are you new to the whole concept of Gonja? Let me introduce you to it briefly.
Gonja is the Luganda name for plantain, which is a delicacy to the people of Uganda. It is most commonly roasted on a charcoal stove by the roadside, but can hardly be missed in restaurants recently.
Plantain is a member of the banana family. Bananas are smaller and much sweeter, while plantains have a starchy consistency and taste. They are usually available all year round making them a non-seasonal crop.
There are several ways of cooking and preparing your Gonja/ Plantain, like boiling, but today we shall specifically concentrate on the roasting method. However, they can also be roasted or baked in the oven.
Starting a Gonja Roasting Business
If you are interested in starting a gonja roasting business, you need to worry. The good news is that it requires little start-up money and is doable once you locate a favourable spot to p[lace your business.
You need a sigiri/ stove with grill, some gonja, charcoal, and a neat place with potential clients to be in business.
The Prices of Gonja are informal from stall to stall, and location to location. The price of a bunch of raw gonja ranges from Uganda shillings 2, 500 to 5000.
The charcoal-grilled gonja is usually sold at Shs1000 for a pair.
How to select Gonja for roasting
Choose Gonja fingers that have just ripened. Avoid the Unripe fingers will be hard and starchy. Avoid the Overripe fingers as they will be too sweet (sugary) and will not roast well. Overripe gonjas tend to burn on the outside they cook on the inside.
Where to buy Gonja
Most local markets around Uganda have Gonja, but they mostly do not keep it in stock since it is fairly expensive.
Nakasero market is a one-stop place with gonja in abundance (both ripe and unripe). You will always be able to buy gonja here as and when you need it.
Other markets around Kampala where you are assured of finding gonja at kalerewe market, and Nakawa market.
How to Roast your Gonja on a charcoal stove
Light the charcoal stove
Gonja is enjoyed best roasted over a charcoal stove, free from extra oils. The next steps will teach you how to roast gonja on a stove.
The first step is to light your charcoal stove and moderate the heat to the required levels. Do you have trouble lighting a charcoal stove? Below are easy steps to light a charcoal stove with ease;
HOW TO LIGHT A CHARCOAL STOVE WITH EASE
Empty the stove/ sigiri from yesterday’s ash and lighting materials like old newspapers. This ensures aeration in the chamber below the charcoal furnace.
Take note: Whenever this chamber is full of ash you’ll notice that the sigiri/ stove will light up very slowly.
Loading your sigiri; load your stove proportionally by placing small pieces of charcoal at the bottom, and the big pieces on top. If you are going to light your sigiri from the top, start with small pieces of charcoal, and add the big pieces after the small ones light up.
The science in this is that air comes in through the chamber/door/ window and when it is warmed up by the flame it tends to rise up and this causes the charcoal to light up from bottom to top.
Let the opening/ door/ window at the bottom face the direction where the wind is blowing from. In this way, the charcoal will get blown and therefore lights up faster
Moderate the heat
Place some ash on the lit/hot charcoal to reduce heat. Close the stove window/door to stop the air from increasing the heat and burning rate of charcoal.
Roasting the Gonja
Put a metal grill (frame) on the stove, peel and place the gonja on. Turn the gonja regularly until evenly light brown and cooked inside.
Healthy Benefits of Eating Gonja
Gonja is a carbohydrate-rich food. The fibre and starch found in plantains are complex carbohydrates, which make you fuller and more satisfied after a few bites.
It is a fruit, making it rich in Vitamin C, which helps to can to help support the immune system.