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A plate of fufu (right) accompanied by peanut soup
Fufu (left) and palm nut soup (right).
Main article: Cassava

Fufu (variants of the name include foofoo, foufou, fufuo) is a staple food of the of many countries in African and the Carribean. It is made with a flour made from the introduced plant, cassava, or alternativley, another flour such as semolina, or maize flour. It can be made by boiling starchy food crops like cassava, yams or plantains and then pounding them into a dough-like consistency. Fufu is eaten by taking a small ball of it in one's fingers and then dipping into an accompanying soup or sauce. Foods made in this manner are known by different names in different places. However, fufu stands out, especially in Ghana and in West Africa in general. Among Hausa communities in Northern Nigeria, it is known as sakora, sakoro among the Dagombas of Northern Ghana, and as couscous(couscous de Cameroun) in the French-speaking regions of Cameroon (not to be confused with the North African dish couscous).[1]

African fufu[edit]

In Ghana, before cassava was introduced, fufu was made with yam. In some situations, it is made with plantain or cocoyam. In Nigeria and Cameroon, fufu is white and sticky (if plantain is not mixed with the cassava when pounding). The traditional method of eating fufu is to pinch some of the fufu off in one's right hand fingers and form it into an easily ingested round ball. The ball is then dipped in soup and swallowed whole.

A similar staple in the African Great Lakes region is ugali. It is usually made from maize flour (masa), and is also eaten in Southern Africa. The name ugali is used to refer to the dish in Kenya and Tanzania. Closely related staples are called nshima in Zambia, nsima in Malawi, sadza in Zimbabwe, pap in South Africa, posho in Uganda, luku, fufu, nshima, moteke, semoule, ugali and bugari in Republic of the Congo and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and phaletshe in Botswana.

Caribbean fufu[edit]

In the Caribbean and the nations with populations of West African origin, such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico, plantains or yams are mashed and then other ingredients are added. In Cuba, the dish retains its original African name, or is also known as fufú de platano. In the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, the dish is described as mangú and mofongo, respectively. The difference between West African fufu and Caribbean "fufu" is noted in both the texture and the flavorings, Caribbean fufu and mofongo being less of a dough-like and more of a firm consistency. Another difference can be seen in mofongo, unlike Caribbean fufu and West African fufu the Puerto Rican mofongo is fried then mashed with broth, garlic, olive oil, and stuffed with meat (traditional chicharrón), vegetables, or seafood.

The vegetable or source of fufu in the Anglo Caribbean is not fried first. Plantain is not used as much, as it is used in so many dishes. Fufu is usually part of or added to a soupy sauce or on the side with a soupy dish. In Barbados it serves as part of the national dish and is called cou cou and uses cornmeal or, less commonly, breadfruit instead, like several other English Caribbean islands. In Haiti it is called tum tum. It is mostly made of breadfruit but can be made of plantain or yams. Also it is usually served with an okra based stew or soup.


Fufu, or more generally pounded starchy food, is eaten in a great number of countries including Asante, the Akyem, Bono and Fante peoples of the Akan ethnic group of Ghana and is eaten in Guinea (Guinean cuisine).

Fufu's prevalence in the West African subregion has been noted in literature produced by authors from that area. It is mentioned in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, for example.


Pieces of boiled cassava or other tubers are pounded together in a giant wooden mortar using a wooden pestle. In between blows from the pestle, the mixture is turned by hand and water gradually added till it becomes slurry and sticky. The mixture is then formed into a ball or a rounded slab and served. With the invention of the Fufu Machine preparation has become much less labour intensive.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ DeLancey, Mark W., and Mark Dike DeLancey (2000). Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon, 3rd ed. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, p. 134.

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