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Making Kabalagala pancakes using gonja (plantains)

Making Kabalagala pancakes using gonja (plantains)
Kabalagala Banana Pancakes, using plantains (gonja)

True Ugandan kabalagala banana pancakes are made using “ndizzi” bananas (as they are called in some regions of Uganda), but what do you do if you are in a place where you have none, but lots of “plantains”, known in Uganda as “gonja”? I tried it and in my opinion, they taste more like the “real thing” than with other banana types found in some places. The recipe & especially video, though illustrate how to make Kabalagala with or without ndizzi.


4 servings
  • 1/2 kg plantains very ripe/overripe
  • 1/2 kg cassava flour (Not all is necessarily used - see below)
  • 1/2 liter oil enough for deep frying
15 min
30 min
45 min


  1. Peel the plantains and mash them in a dish
  2. add cassava flour little by little while mixing until it reaches a consistency allowing you to handle & knead it without it getting sticky. I have not stated the weight of flour used, because I did not weigh it, though for the 2 relatively big bananas I certainly used less than half a kilo, probably 300 - 400g. Knead it for a while with the hand.
  3. place the dough on a lightly powdered board and roll it to about 1/2 cm thickness. If it sticks too much on the rolling pin, it means you may need to add a little more flour.
  4. In the meantime, heat oil in a teflon frying pan
  5. Use a cup or other appropriate "cutter" to cut the dough into round shapes
  6. With the right oil temperature the "kabs" should take a couple of minutes (around 4 - 5) to get ready. You might need to turn them over


If you have “ndizzi”** instead, that is even better. Substitute the gonja with depending on the size, I would estimate 2 – 3 per gonja/plantain.

**It seems they are otherwise called “apple bananas”, “manzana bananas”. A picture of ndizzi is at this link: . Other sweet banana types such as used for this recipe can be used but will not taste as good.

More about “ndizzi”: (link is external),

Kabalagala is best eaten warm and soft. Warming up cold kabs in an oven makes them softer.

A recipe & video of a wheat flour version of kabalagala (for lack of a better name ) can be found here:

Have a look at our other Kabalagala (Ugandan banana pan cake) recipes on this site

One thought on “Making Kabalagala pancakes using gonja (plantains)

  1. simba says:

    Comments to the Youtube video, copied & pasted here:

    Electro 1 year ago
    Thank you! I used to eat kabalagala as a child growing up in Uganda. Left over 30 years ago and missed it everyday.

    Jack Frost 16 hours ago (edited)
    +Electro These words could have come out of my very mouth! I came here in 1972, as a 14 year old, and missed Kabalagalas so much, until the family found the recipe.

    taayyiba 1 year ago
    Wow I will try this , love trying new recipes , thanks

    orbituganda 4 years ago in reply to leftysergeant
    I used a number of “Ugandan” words in this recipe with Ugandans in mind.
    There are many types of “pan cakes”, but in Uganda, with “Kabalagala” one immediately knows what u are referring to, NORMALLY made with ndizzi + cassava flour.
    Same with “gonja”, …
    “Ndizzi” is such a word in the “Luganda” language referring to a particular type of bananas. I have seen them reffered to as apple b. & in Wikipedia “manzana” as well. There are many small banana types that are NOT “ndizzi”.
    Read more

    orbituganda 2 years ago in reply to mimi nani
    Hi, actually many people in Uganda cannot even imagine that, BUT I discovered using PLAIN wheat flour brings “acceptable” results. Purists might not call it real kabalagala, but to me the taste is not that different & it’s fine if you have no original flour. If u check on this channel, youtube[.]com/orbituganda & orbituganda[.]com under recipes you will find some “kabalagala” recipes using PLAIN wheat flour. Give it a try. 😉 (the links of course without the [] brackets)

    orbituganda 2 years ago in reply to Kyomugisha1
    Hi, if that all purpose flour, is PLAIN white WHEAT flour, as the comment below shows, it should work, though real Ugandan Kabs are made from “ndizzi” bananas & cassava flour. I discovered though if you have none or one of the ingredients, especially abroad u can substitute & the results are not bad at all. Check out the other 2 kabs recipes on this channel & using “kabalagala” as the search term at orbituganda[.]com (no brackets), will yield some alternatives using wheat flour & plantains

    orynx dqisy 2 years ago
    do u know how to make daddies or duddies cos i can’t find the recipes anyweher?

    orbituganda 4 years ago
    I was surprised & happy to learn that “veteran” kabalagala maker/eater found “gonja/plantains” to be a not bad “ndizzi/apple banana” substitute at all, at least compared to other banana types. So if you do not have to do without “kabs” justbecause you have no ndizzi. 😉

    leftysergeant 4 years ago
    I was a little puzzled about the referrence to ndizi and gonja.  Plantains (gonja0 are plentiful here, but only here have I heard of “apple banana.”  Recently a variety caled “burro bananas” have become available here, mostly in Asian or Hispanic markets.  They are shorter than plantains and somewhat sweeter when fully ripe. Perhaps these are what you call ndizi.

    orbituganda 4 years ago in reply to orbituganda
    I’m not aware of other folks preparing “Kabalagala” in that “original” form, including our immediate neighbors from Kenya, Tanzania & Rwanda, etc. “Kabs are otherwise widely eaten in Uganda. Actually the only rare deviation is using maize flour (brittle result) or have heard of millet flour. Before I did, I had never heard of anyone using other ingredients including “gonja” or wheat flour which makes some people frown as long as the aim is nothing else but “kabalagala”. 😉

    orbituganda 3 years ago in reply to XxXSoulSisterXxX
    One can look at it as a type of “banana-based” mandazi 😀 😉

    orbituganda 4 years ago in reply to orbituganda
    @leftysergeant I should add, there are many types of bananas in Uganda, but of those not cooked while still unripe (as “matooke”) a staple in some regions, there are 4 main types. “Ndizii” , “bogoya” looks a bit like but does not taste quite like “chiquita”, (the 2 known as SWEET bananas, eaten ripe) “gonja”, widely eaten in W. Africa + a few types used & suitable for making banana juice. … These are not used for other purposes. Could not post links to illustrate ….

    Kyomugisha1 2 years ago
    Your videos are so awesome! Can Unga Exe all purpose flour be used to make kabalagala? I got the flour from Uganda.

    mimi nani 2 years ago
    cn i use anther type of flour if i dnt hv casava flour


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