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from: Western Africa | cooking method: boiling-simmering


Fufu (Foo-foo, Foufou, Foutou, fu fu) is to Western and Central Africa cooking what mashed potatoes are to traditional European-American cooking. There are Fufu-like staples all over Sub-Saharan Africa: i.e., Eastern Africa's Ugali and Southern Africa's Sadza (which are usually made from ground corn (maize), though West Africans use maize to make Banku and Kenkey, and sometimes use maize to make Fufu). Fufu is a starchy accompaniment for stews or other dishes with sauce. To eat fufu: use your right hand to tear off a bite-sized piece of the fufu, shape it into a ball, make an indentation in it, and use it to scoop up the soup or stew or sauce, or whatever you're eating.

In Western Africa, Fufu is usually made from yams, sometimes combined with plantains. In Central Africa, Fufu is often made from cassava tubers, like Baton de Manioc. Other fufu-like foods, Liberia's dumboy for example, are made from cassava flour. Fufu can also be made from semolina, rice, or even instant potato flakes or Bisquick. All over Africa, making fufu involves boiling, pounding, and vigorous stirring until the fufu is thick and smooth.

mortar and pestle in zimbabwe

What you need

What you do

Is Fufu a reduplication? See the Coupé-Coupé recipe.

Semolina and Ground Rice Fufu

from Central Africa

What you need

What you do

Instant Fufu

An out-of-Africa variation.

What you need

What you do

Richard Francis Burton

Fufu is composed of Yam, Plantain, or Cassava

Richard F. Burton, the great 19th century traveler, writer, and translator, documented fufu in Wanderings in West Africa (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1991 "Two Volumes bound as One"; originally published by Tinsley Brothers, London, 1863).

"Fufu" is composed of yam, plantain, or cassava; it is peeled, boiled, pounded and made into balls, which act the part of European potatoes, only it is far more savoury than the vile tuber, which has already potatofied at least one nation, and which no man of taste ever looks, except in some such deep disguise as maitre d'hotel. There were also cakes seasoned with the fresh oil of the palm kernal, but they had a fault,--over richness.
(Volume II, Chapter IX, A Pleasant Day in the Land of Ants [Accra])
A dinner similar to breakfast is eaten at 4 to 5 P.M. Soup and stews are the favorite ménu, and mashed yam acts as a substitute for bread. It is also made into a spoon by a deep impression of the thumb, and thus it carries a thimblefull of soup with every mouthful of yam. The evening is passed with the aid of music, chatting with the women, and playing with the children.
(Volume II, Chapter X, Bonny River to Fernando Po)

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African Proverbs

Ibaje isu ni ibaje obbe : enniti o se ibaje enia, o se ibaje enia, o se ibaje ara re. (Yoruba) : The badness of the yam is (laid to) the badness of the knife : (but it is soon found out that the yam is in fault; so) he who injures another injures himself.
  (from: Wit and Wisdom from West Africa, Richard Francis Burton)

Iya odo on ommo re ko ni ija, agbe li o dija sille fun won : ommo odo ki ina iya re lassan. (Yoruba) : The pestle and the mortar had no quarrel between them, it was the farmer that caused the quarrel (by supplying the yam for pounding) : the child of the mortar (i.e., the pestle) does not beat its mother for nothing. N.B. -- Said of a person or a thing that causes disputes. (ibid)

Other African proverbs

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