Ghanaian Fufu

Fufu is considered the National Dish of Ghana. Fufu is a staple food in Ghana. It is eaten with soup. You eat with your hands. Fufu can be made of different ingredients. In northern Ghana you make Fufu from yam´s roots. In southern Ghana you make it from cassava and plantain. There are also powder to buy nowadays, which is made of one or the other and you just mix it with water.

How to make Fufu 
A large yam is enough for four people for sure, perhaps six, depending on how big portions you eat, or the size of the root. 

Peel the yam and split it into pieces. Boil it until it is soft and you can easily stick a fork in it (as boiling potatoes). It should not be cooked too soft because then the Fufu gets too loose. When it is boiled put it in the food processor (use the knife you chop vegetables with) Do not take too much at a time, a few pieces such as three pieces about the size of three potatoes. Mix with the knife until the pieces are chopped. Continue mixing until the yam is a smooth lump, like a dough. There is so much starch in the yams that it changes into the consistency of smooth dough when you mix it. It should be a smooth little chewy dough. If you want the fufu little softer, you can add a little water, but be careful so it does not become too soft. When you have the smooth dough put it in a deep dish and serve. Pour sauce over and add the meat and put in the dish. Then you eat with your fingers, take a piece of fufu, dip in the soup, and even eat the meat.

Ingredients for the light soup.

  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Chili peppers
  • Aubergines
  • Garlic
  • Meat extract cube
  • Onion
  • Salt
  • Ginger
  • Tomato paste
  • Water

Chop the ingredients by hand or in a blender. It should not be much water in, then the soup is too thin. It becomes liquid of the vegetables when they are cooked. How much to take of each vegetable depends on how many are going to eat. For four servings you can take about five chili peppers, 2 aubergines, four tomatoes, 1garlic, 3 onions and half a can of tomato paste. Aubergines should be yellow, but you can also use blue. The aubergines are full of starch that makes the soup thcken. It is enough with one deciliter of water in it. That said, one can mix a little what you like and what you want in the soup. 

Let it all boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Then, sift so the soup is clear, without the pieces of vegetables. Then it’s real light soup. But personally I like the pieces and they are good and filling, so if you have not been in Ghana and eaten real Fufu with light soup and know how it should look, it is not wrong if you don´t sift, it is good. 
Meat in the soup – the most common in Ghana is goat meat or chicken. But you can take any meat whatsoever, and cut into pieces. The chicken you put in whole parts. The meat should be in some large pieces which you then take with your fingers and eat.
The soup can also be a seafood flavor or with fish in. It’s your choice.

The meat can cook for itself and be put into the finished soup. Depending on what meat you use and how long the cooking time required. Chicken does not take long, so you can add to the soup as it cooks in the soup. The same can be done with fish. In Ghana, you put the whole fish with the bones and fins and everything in, but you don´t have to do it this way.

Now you may be thinking that you dare not try, or you cannot because you cannot find yam´s roots in the store! However, it is possible to cheat a little and get a good Fufu, although it does not taste quite like real Fufu.

Fake it is done in this way:

  • 4 cups mashed potatoes
  • 2 cups potato flour
  • about 1 liter of water (Too much water makes dough too loose. So be careful.)

Mix the ingredients cold in a saucepan. Set the pan on the hot plate (number four heat) and stir constantly until it forms a thick smooth batter. Stir the mixture quickly and firmly until it is firm and smooth as a dough. Serve immediately with the soup. Do you think it’s hard to get it smooth enough by touching by hand in the pot, work it some in the mixing bowl of the food processor. It is important that it has been heated long enough, so it has become smooth and the taste of the potato flour has disappeared.

In Ghana the Fufu is pounded in a large wooden mortel and it takes two people to do the job. Here at home I used my Foodprocessor. However I also have a Ghanaian mortel I could use the traditional way. It is a skill though to pound fufu.

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