Cabbage Fufu (also known as cabbage swallow) is a wonderful, keto alternative to Nigerian (African) fufu dishes. It makes a delicious and healthy meal when paired with your favorite African soups!
This is a healthy version of popular African Fufu dishes which are usually made from very high carb foods like corn, cassava, wheat, yams or plantains. Fufu is traditionally eaten with thick gravy-like soups like Egusi or Okro soup, and even though a lot of African soups are often low carb and high fat, pairing it with a traditional fufu dish makes for a high carb, high-fat meal, which is not ideal.
Being originally from Nigeria, I know it’s very hard to give up our fufu and soup dishes because this is what we crave and enjoy. Fufu itself is usually bland and takes on the flavor of the soup its been eaten with. So who says, we can’t enjoy low carb versions of fufu that tastes equally great but is healthier and more filling? Sounds like a win-win to me!
What do I need to make cabbage fufu?
For this recipe, you'll need green cabbage, psyllium husk, a cheesecloth, and a powerful blender.
I have tried so many different brands of psyllium husk and I have come to realize that different brands work for different types of dishes. For instance, the NOW brand is very popular for baking. But when it comes to making fufu dishes, nothing beats Organic India Whole Psyllium Husk brand. It blends seamlessly into the fufu and does not leave weird lumps or colors as I noticed with some other brands.
For this recipe, a cheesecloth is an essential tool because it is used to drain the excess moisture from the blended cabbage. My favorite is this ultrafine unbleached cotton cheesecloth which holds firm and lasts really long.
Before you start, always check your cheesecloth for holes. If you’ve had it for a while and washed it several times, it might begin to loosen up and form holes. Checking for holes will save you the heartache of watching all your pureed cabbage just fall right through.
Can I make cabbage fufu without psyllium husk?
Unfortunately, no you cannot. And I really tried to see if there was any way this could happen. I tried just making it without any and it completely fell apart.
Psyllium husk actually serves two purposes when used in fufu dishes. The first is, it acts as a binder. Wheat and other high carb flours have gluten which acts as glue and binds the food together. Cabbage, like most low carb vegetables, does not have gluten and without a binder, it will never retain its shape long enough to be eaten as fufu.
Secondly, psyllium husk is basically fiber. In fact, eating too much of it will have the same effect as a laxative. In small quantities, it will make you feel very full quickly and it will be a pleasant surprise when you get quite full before your fufu dish is finished.
There are some recipes I’ve seen that don’t use psyllium husk but use garri (fried cassava) or other high carb flours to act as binders. This nullifies the whole point of making this a low carb dish in the first place.
How to make cabbage fufu
Chop the cabbage into medium-sized pieces and blend with a blender till it’s completely pureed. Add a bit more water if you have to, and don’t worry about adding too much because it will all be drained using the cheesecloth.
Drape the cheesecloth over a bowl, pour in the blended mix and squeeze very hard to get rid of as much liquid as you can. It's ok if you still have a bit of liquid when you're done as this will evaporate when you begin cooking.
Pour in a pan and place on the stove while stirring on medium-high heat. After a few minutes, the mixture will begin to thicken. Add in the psyllium husk and stir in a circular motion continuously till it is thoroughly mixed in.
As you stir, it will begin to form a dough-like texture. Wrap in cling wrap for a few minutes or up to an hour, if you want a firmer consistency.
This recipe makes two servings. Looking at the size, it will not seem as much but that’s the beauty of cabbage fufu – you do not need a lot to be full. The cabbage will have a slightly green tint and that's totally normal as this comes from the green cabbage.
This goes perfectly with other African soups like:
Tips on making a perfect cabbage fufu dish
For best results, use a blender and not a food processor to blend the cabbage. You want it to be completely pureed to ensure the cabbage fufu does not have lumps in it.
Always add two tablespoons of psyllium husk first and stir for about a minute. Only add the third tablespoon if you want a firmer consistency.
To preserve your cheesecloth, soak it in a little dishwashing liquid for a few minutes, hand wash gently and rinse thoroughly. Leave out to dry and do not place in a dryer as this will cause snags.
How to store cabbage fufu
Wrap in a cling wrap and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. The cabbage fufu will become firmer the longer it is kept in the fridge. I have never tried to freeze it only because I think it will be a challenge to reheat it properly without a lot of water getting into it.
How to reheat cabbage fufu
The fastest way to reheat this is to place the wrapped cabbage fufu in a bowl, pour in boiling water and microwave for 2-3 minutes. When you take it out, if it isn’t heated through yet, put it in for one more minute. Remove the cling wrap, transfer to another bowl and stir with a spoon for about a minute.
Don’t forget to try our other low carb fufu dishes:
- 1 green cabbage
- 2-3 tbsp Psyllium husk
- Chop the cabbage into medium-sized pieces and blend with a blender.
- Blend till it’s completely pureed.
- Drape a large cheesecloth over a bowl, pour in the blended mix and drain out as much liquid as you can.
- Pour in a pan and place on the stove while stirring on medium-high heat.
- After about 2 minutes, add 2 tablespoons of psyllium husk.
- Stir continuously in a circular motion till it is completely blended in.
- Add one more tablespoon if you want it firmer.
- Keep stirring till the desired consistency is reached.
- Serve and enjoy!
- For best results, use a blender and not a food processor to blend the cabbage, to ensure it is completely pureed.
- When you squeeze out the blended cabbage with the cheesecloth, squeeze out as much as you can to prevent the cabbage fufu from being too soft.
- To preserve your cheesecloth, soak it in a little dishwashing liquid for a few minutes, hand wash gently and rinse thoroughly. Leave out to dry.