Enslaved populations brought it to the Americas and it was adapted into Caribbean cuisines based on what was available. The word “fufu” originates in the Twi language of Ghana and the Ivory Coast. It means “to mash” or “to combine.” It’s also known as foo-foo or fou-fou.
If you look attentively at photos of African women pounding a large mortar and pestle in a consistent rhythm, you’ll notice that they’re most likely preparing fufu. Other names for this starchy dish include fufu, fofo, and foufou. It’s known as cous-cous in French-speaking areas. Ugali is the East and Southern African equivalent.
How To Make Fufu
Fufu comes in several forms, with each West African country having its unique recipe. Sweet plantains and extra animal fats such as butter, bacon, or lard are also used in Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico’s variations.
Making it is quite a straightforward art. It’s an art because it requires so much pounding and molding, to take its shape.
This dish is traditionally served as a family meal in a large spherical dough-like form. Each visitor pulls the dough by hand and uses it to soak up the fluids in stews or soupy dishes. As a result, it’s normal to eat it with clean hands, as it’s essentially finger food.
Its flavor varies based on the ingredients used in its preparation, but it’s best described as sour, bland, or tangy. It is frequently served with an African soup, which is usually quite thick and savory, and occasionally hot.
- It is made with a wide variety of starches. White yams are most popular in West Africa, sometimes mixed with plantains. Central Africans tend to favor cassava root (yuca). Africans far away from home will sometimes use potato flakes or Bisquick. Other options are sweet potatoes or semolina and ground rice. A variety of flours (rice, plantain) can also be boiled with water to form a starchy mass.
- Use half yams and half plantains if you like. Simply boil the plantains unpeeled along with the yams. Then peel and mash along with the yams.
- Cuban fufu uses all plantains and mixes in some pieces of roast pork or pork cracklings. Add a quick squeeze of lime juice if you like.
- Pounded starches have a tangy and sour flavor that goes well with full-bodied, well-seasoned meat and vegetable dishes. You can use a food processor instead of the traditional mortar and pestle for this recipe, it will help reduce the amount of work and time required.
- The recipe below is made with yam, as typical with the original preparation of fufu. True yams are boiled and then mashed in a wooden mortar and pestle until smooth and sticky like dough in the traditional fufu preparation.
Fufu and Light Soup
Fufu and Light soup is a spicy tomato-based soup. A hot bowl of light soup brings the best relief when you have a cold/ flu. The perfect dinner for a cold night and a comforting soup that will warm you up from the inside out.
Preparing the soup with Fufu as lunch on a weekend in Ghana is what a roast is to an English man on a Sunday. This healthy traditional soup can be made with beef, goat meat, pork, chicken, lamb, or mutton. For the step by step Light Soup Recipe Click Here
Any stew or soup preparation is a terrific dish to serve with fufu since it is a way to deliver pieces of juicy foods into your mouth.
It goes particularly well with a Caribbean soup or stew. Consider palaver or peanut butter soup from West Africa. Alternatively, serve it with unusual soup or stew pairings such as osso buco, lamb, or chicken.
Storage and Reheating
If leftover fufu is tightly wrapped in plastic, it can be kept in the refrigerator for four to five days. Allow coming to room temperature before eating, or reheat in the microwave wrapped in damp paper towels until warm.
Below is the step-by-step easy recipe on how to make fufu. Feel free to drop a comment if you made it.
- 2 pounds White yams
- 2 tsp Salt
- Pepper to taste
- Place the unpeeled yams in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Boil for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the yams are cooked through and tender.
- Drain and let cool somewhat.
- Peel the yams, chop them into large pieces and place them into a large bowl with the butter, salt and pepper.
- Mash with a potato masher until very smooth.
- Alternatively, put the yams through a potato ricer and then mix with the butter, salt and pepper.
- Place the fufu into a large serving bowl. Wet your hands with water, form into a large ball and serve.