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Fufu

The fufu tastes wonderful!

A staple diet all over West and Central Africa, fufu is perhaps the most popular dish in the whole of Ghana.

I’m told it tastes wonderful. I say I’m told because fufu was never a favourite of mine and I probably haven’t eaten since I was a very young child. Certainly too long ago to remember what it takes like but the likes of Yaw and Owusu swear by it – for beakfast, lunch and dinner!

© The Fiankoma Project

© The Fiankoma Project

One thing I remember though (and it’s still true today) is that making fufu is a very tedious and laborious work: requiring the boiled yam, plantain, cassava or rice to be pounded endlessly in a mortar until soft enough to swallowed whole! In fact I’m led to believe that with the older generation , the chewing of the resultant mix is a big no no!

In the traditional method for the heavy pounding of the substance in the mortar, a specially made heavy wooden implement (which would not go amiss as ‘Exhibit A’ in an Old Bailey murder trial!) is used.

It’s usually a two person job – where one person pounds and the other turns the mix over.

The old man recently took me to a small town on the way to Aburi called Ayi Mensah – named after his grand father. Here I met some relatives who for generations have been making and selling these
implements on the roadside.

Can you spot the fufu?

Can you spot the fufu?

There is definitely an art to eating fufu (or foofoo, or foufou, or fu fu) – because it is made to be eaten with soup or stew.

What you do is this: break off a piece of the ‘mash’, shape it into a ball, make a dent in it so you can scoop up the soup (such ground nut, okra or so-called ‘light’ soup) and swallow whole. And of course, as the above picture clearly shows, you mustn’t forget your assorted meats and fish!

With fufu you just have to dive in – you’ll soon get the hang of it.

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