What exactly is the African food known as FUFU? If you've ever wondered what fufu is and how it is prepared, then read this article to learn all about this beloved African cuisine.
You might have heard about an African dish known as Fufu from social media videos on Tiktok or Instagram, but might be wondering what the craze was all about. African fufu is very common in different regions of Africa but might not be well known to the rest of the world.
What is FUFU?
So what exactly is FUFU? Sometimes referred to as foo-foo, this is a staple meal found in many countries in West Africa and Central Africa.
The beloved African dish is made by stirring, pounding, or kneading starchy vegetables like cassava or wheat, till it forms a dough-like consistency. It is primarily eaten with an African soup like okra soup or ogbono soup for a satisfying, balanced meal.
What is fufu made of?
Fufu varieties are found all over Africa and are made using readily available starchy vegetables native to that region. It is commonly made from cassava, yams, maize, plantain, wheat, corn, semolina, rice, or oatmeal.
The many names
Fufu goes by different names in different African countries. Here are some of the names it goes by in different countries and the ingredients used:
- Cassava fufu(Akpu) - fermented cassava
- Eba - dried cassava (garri)
- Pounded yam - boiled yams
- Amala - yam powder (elubo)
- Semolina - durum wheat
- Oatmeal fufu - blended oats
- Rice meal fufu (tuwon shinkafa) - cooked, mashed rice
- Tuwon masara - corn flour
- Kokonte - cassava flour
- Fufuo - cassava and plantain
- Banku (Akple) - corn dough and cassava dough
- Kenya & Tanzania
- Ugali – cornmeal or millet flour
- Ivory Coast
- Foutou - cassava or corn
- Fufu - corn flour
- Nshima – finely ground cornmeal
- Nsima - cornmeal
- Sadza - white maize meal or cornmeal
- Posho - cornflour
- South Africa
- Vhuswa/Pap - corn or maize meal
- Fufu - cassava, plantains, or yams.
How to make fufu
Fufu is made in different ways depending on whether you use a starchy root vegetable or flour. If using a vegetable like yam, cassava, or plantain, first boil it till it is soft. Then, using a mortar and pestle, pound and knead it till it forms a stretchy dough texture.
If using flour, pour it into a pot containing boiling water and stir till the texture becomes dough-like. This is usually done with a large wooden spoon.
Eating this African dish can be a very delightful and satisfying experience. It is served with an African soup either on the same plate or on a different plate. The soup is usually thick and gravy-like and made with vegetables, beef, goat, or other protein.
To enjoy fufu, you break off a small piece and make a small dent in it to scoop up some of the soup. Then you swallow it.
What does fufu taste like?
The taste of fufu varies, depending on the ingredients used to prepare it, but its taste can best be described as sour, bland, or tart. Fufu is not eaten alone and is usually eaten with an African soup, which is usually very rich and flavorful, and sometimes spicy. So the overall taste of the dish is determined by the flavors and spices in the soup.
Are you supposed to chew fufu?
Fufu is usually mixed with soup and swallowed without chewing. This can take some getting used to if you haven't tasted it before. Most Africans start their kids on this dish when they are very young, so they grow accustomed to it.
Because of its somewhat bland, chewing fufu might taste, well, bland. Swallowing it is preferred because its texture is smooth and is coated with soup to help it go down easily.
That's not to say you can't chew fufu if you want to. You just need to cut it into really small pieces and thoroughly coat it with the soup before chewing, so you can really savor the flavor. This youtube video shows how to eat and enjoy your fufu dishes!
Storing and reheating
Fufu can be easily preserved in the fridge, and it stays fresh for two to three days. To store it, let it cool down completely to room temperature, then wrap it in cling wrap and store in the fridge. To reheat, warm it up using a microwave or on a stove with a little water.
What do you eat it with?
You can enjoy a delicious bowl of fufu with many different kinds of vegetable soups prepared with various proteins like chicken, beef, lamb, goat, or fish.
Some delectable African soups that go perfectly well with fufu are:
Can you gain weight eating fufu?
Unfortunately, yes. Most fufu dishes are very high in carbs, and some contain as much as 100g of carbs per serving. For a young kid, these carbs provide much needed energy but for an adult, unless you have a very physically demanding job, it will become increasingly hard to burn all the carbs and calories in a fufu dish.
This will undoubtedly begin to cause weight gain that will slowly creep up at first but will become more apparent as you grow older. Also, since most African soups are high in fat, you are essentially eating a high-carb, high-fat meal which will lead to obesity and other health problems, especially if you eat this dish several times a week.
Can you eat fufu on a keto diet?
The keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet. Since fufu is very high in carbs, you cannot eat it in its regular form on the keto diet.
However, you can cut down the carbs in fufu dishes without sacrificing too much on taste by eating low carb versions of this dish. Fufu in itself tastes a bit bland, and the flavor of the dish comes from the soup it is eaten with.
So replacing fufu in your dish does not take away from how delicious and flavorful it will taste!
Here are some great low carb alternatives:
Enjoy these other delectable keto African dishes!