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What is the White fufu called?


Fufu (or fufuo, foofoo, foufou / ˈ f u ˌ f u / foo-foo listen ( help · info ) ) is a pounded meal found in West African cuisine. [1] [2] It is a Twi word that originates from the Akans in Ghana. The word, however, has been expanded to include several variations of the pounded meal found in other African countries including Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Cote D’Ivoire, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Angola and Gabon. [3]

Although the original food ingredient for fufu is boiled cassava, plantains and Cocoyam, yams (Ghana), it is also made in different ways in other West African countries; each country has its unique way of making it. In Ghana, Ivory Coast and Liberia, they use the method of separately mixing and pounding equal portions of boiled cassava with green plantain or cocoyam, or by mixing cassava/plantains or cocoyam flour with water and stirring it on a stove. Its thickness is then adjusted to personal preference, and it is eaten with broth-like soups. In Nigeria, fufu (akpu) is made solely from fermented cassava giving it its unique thickness compared to that found in other west African countries, and eaten with variety of soups with vegetables and lots of beef and fish. [4] In recent years other flours, such as semolina, maize flour, or mashed plantains, may take the place of cassava flour; this is common for those in diaspora or families that live in urban cities. Families in rural areas with access to farm land still maintain the original recipe of using cassava. Fufu is traditionally eaten with the fingers, and a small ball of it can be dipped into an accompanying soup or sauce. [5]

Names [ edit ]

  • Angola: funge , fúngi
  • Benin: santana , foufou
  • Cameroon: couscous , couscous de manioc
  • Central African Republic: foufou
  • Congo-Kinshasa and Congo-Brazzaville: fufú , moteke , luku
  • Gabon: foufou
  • Ghana: fufu , fufuo , sakɔro
  • Guinea: foufou
  • Haiti: tomtom
  • Ivory Coast: foutou , foufou
  • Liberia: fufu
  • Mozambique: sadja, sadza, xima
  • Nigeria: fufu , akpụ , ụtara , loi-loi , swallow
  • Sierra Leone: foofoo
  • Togo: foufou

African fufu [ edit ]

Before the Portuguese traders introduced cassava to Africa from Brazil in the 16th century, fufu was mainly made from cocoyam, plantain and yams. [6] 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 the soup before being eaten.

Fufu made in Cote d’Ivoire [ edit ]

In Côte d’Ivoire, the word foutou is also used. Ivorian foufou is specifically mashed sweet plantains, whereas the foutou is a stronger, heavier paste made of various staple foods such as yam, cassava, plantains, taro or a mix of any of those.

In the French-speaking regions of Cameroon, it is called «couscous» (not to be confused with the North African dish couscous). [7]

Although people from the Eastern Africa and Southern Africa seem to confuse fufu (or fufuo) with their type of corn or maize dough dish called ugali or nshima, it is not the same. Rather, ugali or nshima can be found in Ghana where it is called akple, nsihoo (white etsew without the corn bran) or tuo zaafi, which are made from unfermented corn flour unlike the other fermented corn dough foods such as etsew, dokuno (kenkey), banku, fonfom, among others in Ghanaian cuisine.

Fufu made in Ghana [ edit ]

Pounding of fufu in Ghana

In Twi, fufu or fufuo means «mash or mix», a soft and doughy staple food. It is believed to originate in what is now modern-day Ghana, [8] by the Asante, the Akuapem, the Akyem, the Bono and the Fante people of the Akan ethnic group of Ghana and now generally accepted across the country. «Fufuo» also means «white» in Twi, [9] and is likely derived from the whitish colour of the cassava component in Ghanaian fufu. In Ghana, it is made out of pieces of boiled cassava and/or other tubers such as plantain or cocoyam. It is mostly pounded together in a locally made wooden mortar (woduro) using a wooden pestle [10] (woma). In between blows from the pestle, the mixture is turned by hand and water is gradually added till it becomes slurry, soft and sticky. The mixture is then formed into a rounded slab and served. With the invention of the fufu machine preparation has become much less labour-intensive. The resulting food is eaten with liquid soups (nkwan) such as light soup (nkrakra nkwan), abenkwan (palm nut soup), nkatenkwan (peanut butter soup), and abunubunu soup. Today, it also features in Beninese cuisine, Cameroonian cuisine, Guinean cuisine, Nigerian cuisine, [11] and Togolese cuisine, where it is eaten with hot pepper soup, okra, or other kinds of stew. Fufu’s prevalence in West African subregions have been noted in literature produced by authors from that area. It is mentioned in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, for example. [ citation needed ] Fufu was a major cuisine of the Ashanti Empire. [12] In Ghana, fufu, also known as fufuo, is white and sticky (if plantain is not mixed with the cassava when pounding).

Fufu or Akpu made in Nigeria [ edit ]

In Nigeria, fufu or akpu is a popular food made from fresh or fermented cassava. The Nigeria’s way and version of Fufu is different from Ghana’s version of Fufu, it is however a staple food in both countries. [13] [14] [15] Akpu, properly punctuated as akpụ in Igbo, is the Igbo word for cassava. Requiring several days to make, akpu is a wet paste often eaten with egusi soup. Akpu is traditionally made by peeling and washing raw cassava until it is white. Left in water for 3–4 days, the cassava ferments and becomes soft. [16] [17] It is then filtered with a porous calabash or sieve. Excess water is typically and quickly drained by pouring the wet paste into a sack, upon which is placed something heavy and flat (e.g., a plank and brick). The paste is then pounded and molded into large balls and simmered for 30–60 seconds, after which it is thoroughly pounded to remove lumps, molded again into smaller balls, boiled for 10–15 minutes, and then pounded until smooth. [18] It is popular throughout Nigeria, particularly in the East. [19]

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Caribbean fufu [ edit ]

In Caribbean nations with substantial populations of West African origin, such as Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico, plantains, cassava or yams are mashed with other ingredients. [ citation needed ] In Cuba, the dish retains its original African stem name, termed simply as fufú or with added descriptive extensions like fufú de plátano or fufú de plátano pintón. [20] On other major islands, fufú goes by the names of mangú in the Dominican Republic, mofongo and funche in Puerto Rico. What distinguishes the Caribbean «fufú» from its West African relative is a firmer texture with stronger flavors. As it moves away from Cuba, the fufú’s core is less a gelatinous dough and more of a consistent mass. [21]

In Haiti it is called tonm tonm and Foofoo. It is mostly made of breadfruit but can be made of plantain or yams and is usually served with an okra based stew or soup. It is primarily consumed in the southernmost regions of Haiti namely the Grand’Anse and Sud departments. The city of Jérémie is regarded as the tonmtonm capital of Haiti.

Puerto Rican mofongo, in keeping with the creolized cuisine traditions of the Caribbean, tends toward a fufú of much higher density and robust seasoning. While keeping a conspicuous African character, mofongo has borrowed from the island’s Iberian culinary tradition, to create a dish made of fried green and yellow plantains, cassava or breadfruit. Unlike the mushier Caribbean and West African fufús, mofongo is generally firmer and crustier. To prepare mofongo, green plantains are deep-fried once unlike twice fried tostones. Next, they are mashed in a ‘pilon’ (mortar) with chopped garlic, salt, black pepper and olive oil. The resulting mash is then pressed and rounded into a hollowed crusty orb. Meat, traditionally chicharrón, is then stuffed into the chunky ball of fried green plantains. A few recipes call for a meat or vegetable salsa criolla» (related to American Creole sauce) poured on top of the hot sphere. In the trendier «mofongo relleno,» typical of western Puerto Rico, seafood is all over, inside and outside. Traditional mofongo, as previously cited, comes seasoned and stuffed with meat and bathed in a chicken broth soup. [22] Because of its elaborate process of preparation and its sundry ingredients, poet and blogger Arose N Daghetto called the mofongo a type of «fufú paella» and branded it as «the big daddy of fufús.«. [23] Although mofongo is associated with being fried, boiled and roasting plantain mofongo predate fried mofongo and is still excited but a rare find in Puerto Rico. A dish called funche made with taro, green and yellow plantains boiled and mashed with butter, garlic, and pork fat was once popular in Puerto Rico. Once mashed it was formed into balls and eaten with broth made from sesame seeds. Funche is written in early Puerto Rican cookbooks around the 1800s, but can probably be traced back to African slaves on the island. Funche today in Puerto Rico is cornmeal cooked in coconut milk and milk.

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The vegetable or fufú sauce 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 Antigua, fufu is served as part of the national dish but is called fungi/fungee and is made using cornmeal and okra. Similarly, 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.

Nutrition [ edit ]

Nutritionally, 100 g dry weight fufu contains 2 g of protein, 0.1 g of fat and 84 g of carbohydrates. There are 267 kcal of food energy in a 100 g serving made up with water. [24] It is very low in cholesterol and very rich in potassium, and it is commonly prescribed by doctors for people who have low level of potassium in their blood. [25]

A Quick Guide to Fufu, an African Staple Food

A Quick Guide to Fufu, an African Staple Food

Learn about different variations of fufu from across the continent, easy recipes and soup parings with this short guide.

The sheer joy of eating fufu is is hard to match. The tasty West African staple comes in countless variations, tastes and textures that work with a wide variety of regional flavors. We all have our favorites: the fufu that we think works best with a certain stew or for a certain time of day, and we all know that one weird person who eats their’s with a fork—like seriously, why? Perhaps you’ve never tried fufu and you’re looking for a good and easy recipe to try. Or maybe you were wondering «what is fufu?» Whatever the case may be, we’ve got you covered.

Fufu, which is believed to have originated in modern-day Ghana, is commonly made by pounding starchy food crops such as cassava, yam, plantain and others with hot water. It’s eaten throughout the West African region and in several Caribbean countries including Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

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In this short guide, we list some of the most common types of fufu, and by «fufu» we mean any hot starch, ground or mashed, cooked over heat and formed into a rich paste, generally eaten by hand with stew or soups. For the purpose of this guide we also includes East and Southern African versions, as well, though we completely understand if you don’t categorize your nshima, sadza or pap as fufu.

Below we give you a guide to different types of fufu from across the continent, links to recipes on how to make them, and offer some pairing suggestions. Enjoy!


Cassava is one of the primary starches used to make fufu. It’s eaten in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Côte D’ Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Benin and more. It’s also eaten in several Caribbean countries as well. Made of fermented cassava, this fufu can and should be eaten with any stew of choice: peanut-based stew, egusi, okra, tomato stew—whichever your heart desires. It’s scrumptious either way.

Grated Cassava

This fufu, widely known in Nigeria as eba, is made of dried and grated cassava (garri) which gives it a grainier texture than regular cassava fufu. It is often described as having a slightly tart and sour taste. It’s eaten across West Africa, in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Sierra Leone and more, and it pairs well with most stews such as okra soup, tomato stew, egusi and more.

Pounded Yam

As its name implies, this popular fufu is made of yams, pounded down into a flour and then cooked on a stove with hot water. Cooking pounded yam down to a smooth, mashed potato-like texture requires some arm strength but it’s totally worth it in the end. This fufu tastes excellent with a side of vegetable or peanut stew. Everyone should enjoy pounded yam with a side of egusi soup at some point in their lives.

Black Yam or Cassava Flour

Known as kokonte in Ghana and amala in Nigeria, this fufu made of black yam or cassava flour has a unique, brown or off-white appearance, and a thick, slightly gooey texture. For many, this fufu is an acquired taste. In Ghana, Togo, and Equatorial Guinea, black yam or cassava fufu is often eaten with groundnut or palm oil soup. It’s popularly eaten with ewedu (corchorus leaf) stew by Yoruba people in Southern Nigeria and with edikaikong (green leaf soup) by the Efik people of Cross River State, as well as with bush mango (ogbono) soup.


This fufu is made of durum wheat, the same used in pasta and couscous. Semolina fufu pairs well with a simple okra or red, tomato stew.

Corn Meal Flour

This East and Southern African staple, commonly known as ugali in Kenya and Tanzania, posho in Uganda, nshima in Malawi and Zambia, sadza in Zimbabwe, and pap in South Africa, is made from corn meal or millet flour. Its thick texture is similar to a porridge and allows for it to be cut into pieces and eaten with various stews, vegetables beans, sakuma wiki (spiced collared greens), and other relishes.

Plantain Fufu

Plantain fufu is a lighter alternative to yam and cassava-based starches. It’s made with blended green plantain that thicken when stirred over a stove. It’s eaten across West Africa. A variation of plantain fufu, known as matoke is widely eaten in Uganda. This fufu pairs well with peanut soup, palm oil soup, leafy vegetable stew, and tomato stew.

Oatmeal Fufu

This alternative fufu recipe, consists of blended oats cooked in boiling water and formed into a hardened paste. This type of fufu, tends to be slightly drier, so pair with a side of saucy, leafy green stew for best results.

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Corn Dough and Cassava Dough Fufu

Largely known as banku, this Ghanaian fufu is made of corn and cassava dough cooked with salt and formed into a white paste. Enjoy banku with shito and fried fish or okra soup.

Rice Meal Fufu

This rice-based fufu, known as Tuwo Shinkafa in Northern Nigeria, is a sticky, mashed rice dish, shaped into balls and eaten with—you guessed it—stew, any will do, as this fufu tastes similarly to plain rice, but spicy, red chicken stew is always a tasty choice.

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West African Fufu

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Fufu (or foofoo or foufou) is possibly one the most famous west African ”swallow” foods. It is a filling side dish – starchy, smooth, dense, and stretchy that is much beloved because it is delicious, simple, satisfying, and easy to prepare.

Fufu moulded into balls and served in a plate


Fufu is easy to make, yet so delicious. It is not eaten alone, and it is served with a form of rich and flavorful soup or stew such as egusi soup, okra soup, ewedu soup (Jute leaves), or light soup.

It is the perfect accompaniment to soups/stews and proteins because it is easy to swallow and doesn’t require chewing, so it is a food that all ages can enjoy together.


Foofoo is made from cassava, which is also known as yuca. It is a starchy root vegetable, similar to sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, and yams. It can be fried, baked, and prepared just like potatoes; however, it becomes very smooth, doughy, and elastic when made into fufu.

Though traditionally made from cassava, fufu’s definition has expanded over the years to include a variety of swallow foods, such as eba, green plantains, amala, cocoyam, corn, pounded yam, semolina, and much more.

Well plated fufu Foo foo served with egusi soup in a plate


  • Peel the skin of the cassava with a potato peeler or a knife.
  • Cut the peeled tuber into small cubes that can easily be processed in a blender.
  • Blend till a nice and smooth batter is formed.
  • Transfer it to a pot and stir vigorously until the fufu is thick and smooth, like a semi-solid paste.

…So what next?

Once the foofoo is ready, shape it into small balls, and wrap the balls individually in plastic wraps. This allows the fufu to retain its moisture and prevent it from forming a crust.


Pinch off a little bit of the foufou and mold it into a small oval ball with your palms. Make a small indentation in the fufu and use this indentation to scoop up some of the soup or stew, then swallow. Yes, I said swallow – no chewing! The ”chewing instinct” might set in, but with practice, the art of swallowing fufu can be mastered!

Washing of hands before eating any swallow food is like a rite. As long as the hand-washing ritual is observed, then cutlery is not needed.

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Traditionally, Nigerians eat only with their right hand, so if you have been invited to the home of a Nigerian friend or are eating at a traditional Nigerian restaurant, please remember to eat only with your right hand, even if you are personally left-handed.

A morsel of fufu with egusi soup


Swallow foods are pliable yet firm doughy meals, similar to America’s mashed potatoes but with more texture. Nigerian examples include pounded yam, eba, amala, starch, fufu, and many more. The pliable texture makes it easy to eat with your hand (right hand only, please) and to swallow without chewing.

To eat fufu, cut out a morsel from the meal, then form an indentation on it with the thumb and scoop some stew or soup over it and swallow!


Fufu is usually served in relatively small balls and wrapped in plastic wraps to retain its moisture. It is often paired with various delicious soups and stews like Egusi, Ogbono, Vegetable, peanut soup, and Okro soup, with each person having their preference.

FUFU WITH PLANTAINS? Do you have to add plantains?

The simple answer is no. The fufu will also turn out nice if it is made without plantains. but this is the way I love to eat fufu. For this recipe, I used a mixture of cassava and plantains. The plantains help cut down the stretchiness of the fufu and add a hint of plantain flavor. You can make this recipe just with cassava, too – same ingredients, same instructions, just leave out the plantains.


Foofoo will only have a deep fermented smell if the cassava is left to ferment before making it into fufu. If otherwise, you will experience a very mild smell like mashed potatoes without the butter :).


Yes, fufu can be reheated in a microwave. Simply unwrap any leftover balls and put them in a microwave-safe bowl. Just as you would with rice, add a splash of water, then microwave till heated through—about 5 minutes. Use a wooden stirrer to stir until it becomes nice and smooth.


Foufou provides a significant amount of carbs, some fats, and a bit of protein. It also provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals like:

  • Choline: Nerve and brain function
  • Potassium: Heart, kidney, and muscle function
  • Beta carotene: Anti oxidant


It’s hard to describe but it has a very mild taste. I will say it’s a cross between potatoes and sweet potatoes.


The simple answer is no!. A lot of people have been asking me this question over and over again. Fufu doesn’t need salt or seasoning of any kind. That is why you don’t eat fufu by itself, you need a form of soup or stew to pair with it.


I’m not a fan of fermented fufu, but some people love it. It’s just one additional step, but you’ll have to start preparing it a few days in advance. Before you make the fufu, simply soak the peeled and diced cassava in water for three to five days. That’s it! Every other step remains the same. It will have a stronger smell than its usual mild starchy aroma, though, because of the fermentation.

Note that fufu hardens up as it cools down, so it’s advisable to cook it on the softer side especially if you are not eating it immediately.

What to serve with Fufu:

  • Egusi soup
  • Stewed Spinach
  • Okra soup
  • Jute leaves soup – ewedu
  • Ogbono soup

Other African Swallow foods that you might also enjoy:

Fufu moulded into balls and served in a plate


Fufu – A filling side dish, simple and satisfying and easy to prep. The perfect accompaniment to soups/stews and protein.

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