Belizean Dukunu Recipe

Discover the vibrant flavors of Belizean Dukunu – a tropical delight with a rich history. Explore the recipe and cultural fusion here!

Belizean Dukunu

    Belizean Dukunu

  • Cuisine: Belizean
  • Category: Main dish, Side dish
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 5
  • Calories: 200 calories

About this recipe

Belizean Dukunu is a beloved traditional dish that offers a taste of the rich culinary heritage of Belize. It is a unique blend of indigenous and Caribbean influences, reflecting the country's cultural diversity. Dukunu is a comfort food, often enjoyed during special occasions and celebrations.

At its heart, Dukunu is a starchy delight, with green bananas as its primary ingredient. These bananas are peeled and grated, resulting in a starchy base for the dish. The grated banana is mixed with coconut milk, giving it a luscious and tropical flavor. Coconut is a staple in Belizean cuisine, and its addition lends a creamy richness to the dish.

To add depth and complexity to the flavor, Dukunu includes a medley of seasonings. Onions, garlic, bell peppers, thyme, and black pepper infuse the mixture with a savory and aromatic character. The ingredients are cooked down until the mixture thickens, much like mashed potatoes.

This concoction is then wrapped in softened banana leaves and steamed to perfection, which not only imparts a unique aroma but also preserves the moistness of the dish.

Belizean Dukunu is a labor of love, often made in gatherings where families and communities come together to prepare and enjoy it. It symbolizes the warmth and togetherness of Belizean culture. Its taste is a tantalizing fusion of the earthy green bananas, the creamy coconut, and the savory seasonings, making it a comforting and fulfilling dish that encapsulates the heart of Belizean cuisine.

Origin of Belizean Dukunu recipe

The origin and background of Belizean Dukunu reflect the country's cultural diversity and historical influences. Dukunu is a dish deeply rooted in Belizean Creole culture, which is a blend of African, Caribbean, and indigenous influences. Its history can be traced back to the early inhabitants of Belize, including the Garifuna people and the Creole communities.

African Influence: The use of green bananas and coconut in Dukunu can be linked to the African heritage of many Belizeans. These ingredients are commonly used in African and Afro-Caribbean cuisines. The cooking method of wrapping and steaming the dish in banana leaves also has parallels in African cooking traditions.

Caribbean Influence: Belize, located on the Caribbean coast of Central America, has been influenced by Caribbean flavors and cooking methods. The incorporation of coconut milk and a variety of seasonings in Dukunu reflects this Caribbean influence.

Indigenous Influence: The indigenous peoples of Belize, including the Maya, also had their own culinary traditions, often involving the use of local ingredients. The use of green bananas, which are a staple in Belize, may be influenced by these indigenous culinary practices.

Over time, these cultural elements and ingredients merged to create Belizean Dukunu. The dish has become an integral part of Belizean cuisine and culture, enjoyed in various celebrations and gatherings. It's a testament to the country's diverse heritage, with flavors that tell the story of its people and their history.

Why make this recipe?

You should definitely try the Belizean Dukunu recipe for several compelling reasons:

  • Cultural Experience: Belizean Dukunu is a dish deeply rooted in the country's cultural heritage, reflecting a blend of African, Caribbean, and indigenous influences. Trying it provides you with a taste of Belize's diverse and rich culinary traditions.
  • Unique Flavor: Dukunu offers a unique and delightful flavor profile with the creaminess of coconut milk, the earthiness of green bananas, and the savory depth of seasonings. It's a combination of flavors that's both comforting and exotic.
  • Healthy Ingredients: Green bananas are a good source of dietary fiber and essential nutrients. The use of coconut milk adds healthy fats and a touch of sweetness without overwhelming the dish with sugar.
  • Social Experience: Preparing and enjoying Dukunu is often a communal activity, making it a wonderful way to bring people together for a shared cooking and dining experience. It's a dish that's traditionally enjoyed during special occasions and gatherings.
  • Aromatic Presentation: The use of banana leaves for wrapping and steaming not only imparts a unique aroma to the dish but also presents it in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
  • Versatility: Dukunu can be enjoyed as a main dish or a side dish, and you can adapt the recipe to your taste. You can even explore variations by adding ingredients like raisins or vegetables to make it your own.
  • Adventure for Your Palate: Trying international recipes like Belizean Dukunu is a culinary adventure. It allows you to explore different flavors and expand your palate.
Trying the Belizean Dukunu recipe offers not only a delicious and unique culinary experience but also a deeper understanding of the cultural diversity and history of Belize. It's an opportunity to savor a piece of Belizean culture in your own kitchen.

What does Belizean Dukunu taste like?

Belizean Dukunu boasts a unique and delightful flavor that's a reflection of its tropical and cultural heritage. The taste of Belizean Dukunu can be described as:

  • Creamy and Coconutty: The use of coconut milk imparts a rich and creamy texture to Dukunu. It's not overly sweet but adds a subtle, pleasant sweetness to the dish.
  • Earthy: The green bananas provide an earthy and starchy undertone to the flavor. They are mildly sweet and pair well with the coconut.
  • Savory and Aromatic: The inclusion of seasonings like onions, garlic, bell peppers, thyme, and black pepper adds a savory, aromatic depth to the dish. These seasonings balance the natural sweetness of the bananas and coconut.
  • Comforting: Dukunu is often described as a comfort food. The combination of flavors, along with the unique method of cooking in banana leaves, results in a warm and satisfying taste.
  • Tropical Essence: The aroma of the softened banana leaves, in which Dukunu is wrapped and steamed, infuses the dish with a subtle, pleasant tropical essence.

The interplay of these elements creates a harmonious and well-balanced flavor profile that's uniquely Belizean. The taste of Belizean Dukunu is a reflection of the country's cultural diversity and the use of locally available ingredients, making it a cherished and comforting dish in Belizean cuisine.

What would you need for this recipe?

These are the ingredients needed to make Belizean Dukunu:

  • Green Bananas: Green bananas serve as the primary ingredient in Dukunu. They are peeled and grated to create the starchy base for the dish. Green bananas are a good source of dietary fiber and essential nutrients.
  • Coconut Milk: Coconut milk adds a rich and creamy texture to the dish. It's made by grating coconut flesh and squeezing out the liquid. It provides a tropical and slightly sweet flavor to the Dukunu.
  • Butter or Margarine: Butter or margarine is used to sauté the onions, garlic, and bell peppers. It adds a rich and savory dimension to the dish.
  • Onion, Garlic, and Bell Pepper: These aromatic ingredients provide flavor depth to Dukunu. Onions add a mild sweetness, garlic imparts a savory kick, and bell peppers contribute a touch of brightness and color.
  • Thyme: Thyme is a fragrant herb that enhances the aromatic profile of the dish. It's commonly used in Caribbean and Creole cuisines for its earthy and herby notes.
  • Black Pepper: Black pepper adds a touch of warmth and spice to the Dukunu. It complements the other seasonings and enhances the overall flavor.
  • Salt: Salt is used to season the dish to taste, balancing the sweetness of the coconut and the earthiness of the green bananas.
  • Banana Leaves: Banana leaves are traditionally used to wrap and steam the Dukunu. They impart a unique aroma to the dish and help retain moisture during the cooking process. If banana leaves are not available, aluminum foil can be used as an alternative.


  • Grater for Green Bananas: Substitute: You can use a box grater or a food processor with a grating attachment.
  • Strainer for Coconut Milk: Substitute: If you're using canned coconut milk, you won't need this. However, if you're using fresh coconut, a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer can be used to extract the milk.
  • Large Skillet: Substitute: A large frying pan or a saucepan can work as an alternative.
  • Cutting Board and Knife: Substitute: These are standard kitchen tools, and there are no direct substitutes.
  • Banana Leaves (for Wrapping): Substitute: If banana leaves are not available, you can use aluminum foil as a substitute. It won't impart the same aroma but will work for wrapping and steaming.
  • String or Toothpicks (for Wrapping): Substitute: If you don't have string or toothpicks, you can use kitchen twine or even strips of the banana leaves themselves to secure the parcels.
  • Steamer (for Steaming): Substitute: If you don't have a steamer, you can use a large pot with a lid. Place a heatproof dish or a rack inside the pot, add some water, and then place the wrapped Dukunu parcels on the rack. Make sure there's enough water to create steam, but not so much that it touches the parcels directly.
  • Cooking Spoon: Substitute: Any standard cooking utensil or spoon can be used.

How to make Belizean Dukunu

Now, unlock the secrets of authentic Belizean Dukunu recipe, a taste of paradise in every bite. Step-by-step guide to this tropical delight!


  • 4-5 green bananas
  • 1 cup of freshly grated coconut (or coconut milk)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Banana leaves for wrapping (or aluminum foil if banana leaves are not available)


  1. Begin by peeling the green bananas and grating them into a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the grated coconut with about 1 cup of water and squeeze the liquid through a strainer to extract the coconut milk. If you're using canned coconut milk, you can skip this step.
  3. In a large skillet, melt the butter or margarine over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and bell pepper, and sauté until they become tender.
  4. Add the grated green bananas, coconut milk, thyme, black pepper, and salt to the skillet. Stir everything well and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. It should have a consistency similar to mashed potatoes.
  5. While the mixture is cooking, prepare your banana leaves. Cut them into rectangular pieces, and quickly pass them over an open flame to soften them. This makes them more pliable for wrapping.
  6. Place a portion of the dukunu mixture onto a softened banana leaf, then fold and wrap it securely. You can use twine or toothpicks to keep the parcels closed.
  7. Steam the wrapped dukunu parcels for about 45-60 minutes, or until they are fully cooked and have a firm consistency.
  8. Serve your Belizean dukunu hot. You can enjoy it as a side dish or a satisfying snack.

How do you serve Belizean Dukunu recipe?

Serving Belizean Dukunu is a simple yet enjoyable process. Here are the steps to serve it:

  • Unwrap the Dukunu Parcels: Carefully remove the Dukunu parcels from the banana leaves or aluminum foil. If you used twine or toothpicks to secure them, be sure to remove those as well.
  • Plating: Place the unwrapped Dukunu parcels on individual plates or a serving platter.
  • Garnish (Optional): If desired, you can garnish the Dukunu with a sprig of fresh thyme or a slice of bell pepper for a touch of color and presentation.
  • Serving: Belizean Dukunu is often served as a side dish alongside other main courses. It pairs well with meats, seafood, or other Creole dishes. You can also enjoy it as a satisfying snack on its own.
  • Enjoy: Serve your Dukunu hot while it's still fresh and steaming. Encourage your guests to savor the unique flavors and aromas of this traditional Belizean dish.
  • Accompaniments (Optional): Some people enjoy Dukunu with a side of hot sauce or a squeeze of lime for an extra kick of flavor. You can provide these condiments at the table for those who like to add a little heat or tang.

Rated: 4.9 of 5.0 from 163 reviews.

Recipe Tags: Belizean Dukunu, Belizean Dukunu Recipe, Recipe, Easy, Homemade, Top rated

What to serve with?

Belizean Dukunu is a versatile dish that can be served on its own or as a side dish alongside various other dishes. Here are some great accompaniments to serve with Dukunu:

  1. Stewed Chicken: Belizean stewed chicken is a popular choice. The savory and slightly spicy chicken complements the creamy and slightly sweet Dukunu.
  2. Fried Fish: Crispy fried fish, often seasoned with local spices, pairs well with Dukunu. The contrast of textures is delightful.
  3. Conch Fritters: Conch fritters are another Belizean favorite. These deep-fried snacks are made from conch meat and can be served as an appetizer alongside Dukunu.
  4. Grilled Shrimp: Grilled shrimp with a hint of lime and garlic is a fantastic seafood pairing for Dukunu.
  5. Coconut Rice and Beans: This Belizean staple is a comforting side dish made with rice, beans, and coconut milk. It complements Dukunu nicely.
  6. Sautéed Callaloo: Callaloo is a leafy green vegetable similar to spinach or collard greens. Sautéed with garlic and spices, it's a healthy and flavorful side dish.
  7. Plantains: Fried or sautéed plantains, which are slightly sweet and caramelized, can add a delicious contrast to the Dukunu.
  8. Fresh Fruit: A plate of fresh tropical fruits like mango, papaya, or pineapple can provide a refreshing balance to the creamy Dukunu.
  9. Belizean Hot Sauce: If you like a bit of heat, Belizean hot sauce is a common condiment to have on hand. A drizzle of this spicy sauce can enhance the flavors of your Dukunu and other dishes.
  10. Tropical Drinks: Consider serving tropical beverages like coconut water, fresh fruit juices, or a Belizean-style rum cocktail to complete the meal.

My recommendations and tips

  1. Choose Ripe Bananas: Select green bananas that are still firm but not overly ripe. They should have a starchy texture rather than being sweet like ripe yellow bananas.
  2. Prep the Coconut Milk Carefully: If using fresh coconut to make coconut milk, be patient when grating the coconut flesh and squeezing the liquid. It may take a little effort, but the fresh coconut flavor is worth it. Alternatively, you can use canned coconut milk for convenience.
  3. Sauté the Aromatics: Take your time when sautéing the onions, garlic, and bell peppers. This step builds the flavor foundation for the Dukunu, so allow these ingredients to become tender and aromatic.
  4. Taste and Adjust: As you're cooking the Dukunu mixture, taste it and adjust the seasoning to your liking. This ensures that the flavors are balanced and suit your palate.
  5. Wrap Dukunu Securely: When wrapping the Dukunu in banana leaves or aluminum foil, make sure the parcels are sealed securely to prevent steam from escaping during the cooking process. This helps the Dukunu cook evenly and stay moist.
  6. Use a Steamer or Improvise: If you don't have a steamer, you can create a makeshift one with a large pot and a heatproof dish or rack inside, as mentioned earlier.
  7. Experiment with Variations: Dukunu is versatile, and you can experiment with additional ingredients such as raisins, grated vegetables, or even diced meats or seafood to create your own variations.
  8. Communal Cooking: If possible, involve family or friends in the cooking process. Preparing Dukunu is often a communal activity in Belize, and it can be a fun and social experience.
  9. Garnish Creatively: If you'd like to add a visual touch, consider garnishing the Dukunu with fresh herbs, colorful bell peppers, or even a drizzle of coconut milk before serving.
  10. Enjoy Fresh: Belizean Dukunu is best enjoyed fresh and hot. Serve it right after steaming for the most delicious experience.

Potential ingredients substitutes

If you're looking for ingredient substitutes for the Belizean Dukunu recipe, here are some options:

  1. Green Bananas: Substitute with green plantains: Green plantains have a similar starchy quality to green bananas and can be used as a substitute.
  2. Coconut Milk: Substitute with canned coconut milk: If you can't access fresh coconut, canned coconut milk is a convenient alternative. Substitute with coconut cream: Coconut cream is a thicker and richer version of coconut milk. It can be diluted with a little water to match the consistency of coconut milk.
  3. Butter or Margarine: Substitute with vegetable oil: You can use vegetable oil for sautéing the aromatics instead of butter or margarine.
  4. Thyme: Substitute with oregano or basil: Thyme has a distinct herbal flavor, but oregano or basil can provide a similar aromatic quality.
  5. Black Pepper: Substitute with white pepper: White pepper has a milder flavor compared to black pepper but can still add a touch of warmth to the dish.
  6. Banana Leaves: Substitute with aluminum foil: If banana leaves are not available, you can wrap the Dukunu parcels in aluminum foil. While it won't impart the same aroma, it works as a suitable alternative for steaming.
  7. String or Toothpicks (for Wrapping): Substitute with kitchen twine: If you don't have string or toothpicks for securing the parcels, kitchen twine can be used to tie them.

Final Remark

In conclusion, Belizean Dukunu is more than just a dish; it's a journey into the heart of Belize's rich culinary heritage. The recipe combines the flavors of the Caribbean, Africa, and indigenous traditions to create a unique and comforting experience.

By savoring this tropical delight, you're not only indulging in a delicious meal but also immersing yourself in a vibrant culture that's as diverse and colorful as the country itself.

So, whether you're cooking it for a special occasion or just to explore new tastes, Belizean Dukunu invites you to savor the essence of a nation through every delectable bite.

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