|Left, Boy pounding cassava in Benin (Photo credit Dietmar Temps CC); Top Right, Yam fufu being pounded in Ghana (Photo credit Terrie Schweitzer CC); Bottom Right, Fufu being served with sauce poured over it in Guniea (Photo credit Marta P CC)|
In West Africa, it's made by boiling a starchy vegetable, either yam, cassava, cocoyam or plaintain (or combination of any of these), then pounding them in a giant wooden mortar with an equally giant wooden pounding stick until it feels like dough. This takes a fair bit of time and effort, and is often a group effort!
Here's a very short video to give you a sense of the work involved!
|Pounded fufu in a mortar; Mound of fufu served next to soupPhoto Credit: Right - Flixtey (CC); Left - Londonsista (CC)|
It's typically served as a mound of fufu, either on the side or in the dish with sauce ladled over it.
Making Fufu at home
|Making pounded yam fufu at home|
To make fufu, first yam was peeled, cut into large pieces and boiled until soft - approximately 30 minutes. We started by mashing it with a potato masher, then pulled our our fufu stick - I actually bought one about a year ago when in Toronto. A heavy wooden spoon would be comparable. Then the girls and I took turns pounding it. One of us would hold the pot while the other banged away at it. We did it in 2 minute shifts each - for about 15 minutes. Then we decided it was good enough! It did change consistency, but didn't look like what I've seen in photos :)
We also tried making it from a boxed mix. It's a flour like mix you add water to - heat it over medium heat and stir it, until it changes to a golden color. That's important - the first time we just stirred the mix together and it tasted raw. Probably because it was :) We've made the box mix a few times to go with our West African meals. It's easier to make, the consistency is better and we prefer its taste.
|Making fufu from a boxed mix|
To eat fufu, you pinch off a piece from the mound. Ball it together with your fingers and make a small indent in it. Then you dip the fufu into the soup or sauce and eat. It can be pretty messy for the inexperienced!
|How to eat fufu|
Making fufu was fun and hard work at the same time - I'd say fun for the novelty of it, and from how ours looked (not a doughy consistency) we didn't pound it long enough by West African standards! I'm also certain it isn't something we'll do again - luckily, there is boxed mix :)
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