Fufu and soup
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.
What you need
–1 to 4 pounds of yams (use large, white or yellow yams; not sweet potatoes, not “Louisiana yams”); or equal parts yams and plantain bananas
–1 teaspoon butter (optional)
What you do
–Place yams in large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until the yams are soft (maybe half an hour). Remove pot from heat and cool yams with running water. Drain. Remove peels from yams. Add butter. Put yams in a bowl (or back in the empty pot) and mash with a potato masher, then beat and stir with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. This might take two people: one to hold the bowl and the other to stir.
–Shape the fufu into balls and serve immediately with meat stew or any dish with a sauce or gravy. To eat it, tear off a small handful with your fingers and use it to scoop up your meat and sauce.