When your friend is an international pageant queen, you get the benefit of making her cook you African cuisine. Jannie, who is from Liberia, and her mom, Mrs. Hannah, introduced me to fufu a few months ago. Ever since I have become acquainted with the African community here in Boise, not too much time goes by before I hear, see, or smell fufu. All of my sheltered American readers such as myself are probably wondering, what the heck is fufu, right? Well...luckily you have stopped by the perfect blog to find out! Last night Jannie was kind enough to take over my kitchen to cook me some.
Fufu is a very popular dough-like dish in South and Central Africa that originated in Ghana. It is made by soaking peeled cassava overnight in water and then pounding it together with unripe plantain. Cassava was introduced to Africa by Portuguese traders in the 16th century and has been one of the main sources of food ever since. Like I mentioned, Fufu is similar to a dough, so you don't eat it alone. You have the chance to get a little creative by making whatever kind of soup you want to go with it. Common fufu soups are made with various meats such as fish or beef, but throw whatever you want in it. Have a little fun with it! You can also add rice to it for a little more substance. Unlike American tradition, in Africa, soup is considered the main dish instead of the appetizer or side dish, which I thought was interesting in my research.
The Cassava Plant
In order to make fufu, you have to mix the cassava leaves, water; then sift it to remove unwanted cassava residue. You then cook it in a pot on medium heat while stirring. It cooks similar to boiling milk, so you have to be sure to stir it consistently. Once it's thick, you have to mold it WHILE it's hot with your hands, because as it cools it sets into whatever shape it's in. Once everything is done, you pour the soup over fufu.
Sounds like a lot right? I don't know about yal, but I am not trying to mold anything with my hands that is straight off the stove or spend time pounding my food. So if you are lazy like me, you can take the easy road and buy the processed fufu mix and skip a few steps!
So back our meal last night. Jannie cooked a smoked turkey breast and rib soup that was to die for. The meat was so tender and tasty. You remember when people used to ask you if you were "tender headed" when they were about to do your hair? I haven't heard that term in forever lol! Sorry I side tracked a little bit, but anyway, please beware fufu is not for the "tender mouthed". Fufu has a serious kick to it. So if you for some reason actually enjoy feeling like your mouth is blazing, you would LOVE some real fufu. Luckily, Jannie knows that I am a wuss, so she simmered it down a bit just for me. The first time tried fufu, it completely opened up all of my insides, I could literally smell what I was cooking for dinner the next day. It was real. I am sure it is amazing when you need to drain a cold. #NaturalRemedies. I vowed to never eat it again, but you know I gave in, and it actually was not as bad the next time. I've been hooked since. In our day to day living sometimes we get into routine, So it's always nice to mix up your meal every now and then. Next time you are in the mood for soup and/or spice, try some fufu and soup!
Tonights soup was made with:
Roasted Turkey Breast
Fresh Diced Tomatoes
Salt & Pepper
Think you can take the fufu heat?