Because the Ashanti Folks of Ghana say, “A person has not eaten a day except he has eaten fufu.”
Patriarchy apart, and mercifully maybe, girls will not be beneath the identical proverbial stress to eat fufu in such a non secular method — however they do it anyway, as a result of they like it, and they’re those, for essentially the most half, making it.
Due to TikTok’s latest #FufuChallenge — the place individuals file themselves buying and tasting fufu, the West African staple — social media has been overwhelmed with individuals making an attempt fufu for the primary time and lots of Africans sharing easy methods to eat it correctly. These are two issues I’m wholeheartedly in assist of: Sure, the world ought to find out about fufu, and sure, Africans must be those to indicate the world easy methods to eat it.
However there was an comprehensible backlash in response to the “problem” — particularly the ignorant reactions to considered one of Ghana’s best exports. I’m not shocked that there are white individuals turning up their noses at fufu, however reasonably disillusioned within the derogatory commentary I’ve seen from some African Individuals, who might regard this delicacies as a present from their ancestors, to not be snubbed or disregarded.
Fufu is a superb accompaniment to any soup or stew, particularly these of West African descent, akin to mild soup (nkrakra), groundnut soup (nkate nkwan), palm nut soup (abenkwan), inexperienced vegetable soup (abun abun), egusi soup and extra.
The phrase “fufu” is derived from the Twi language spoken in Ghana and Ivory Coast, which means “mash” or “combine,” and is a staple in West and Central Africa, in addition to the Caribbean. Essentially, fufu refers back to the barely bitter, spongy dough constructed from boiled and pounded starchy meals crops like plantains, cassava and yams — or a mix of two or extra — in a really giant mortar with a pestle. There are numerous variations of fufu, with every nation like Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, Benin and Sierra Leone, that includes its personal favourite recipe, nevertheless it was Ghana’s invention following its introduction to cassava by the Portuguese within the sixteenth century.
Nassima Rothacker / Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen
It was delivered to the Americas by enslaved populations once they got here to the Caribbean and, over time, they tailored the recipe based on what was domestically out there. Now, Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico have their very own variations of fufu, utilizing candy plantains and animal fat like butter or lard.
How do you make fufu?
My uncle proudly knowledgeable me that for years the College of Ghana tried to make a machine to automate fufu-making since it’s a heavy, laborious process, however the machines saved breaking. No machine is as robust as a Ghanian lady, he instructed me with fun. Amen to that.
Certainly, to make fufu, you want an extremely highly effective machine (or will) to work the starchy fibers out of the basis greens. And whereas meals processors have come a good distance through the years, even my Thermomix can’t make a wonderfully clean fufu dough. The primary fufu machine was developed in 2004 by Ghanaian electrical-equipment supplier Fadegnom Charles; and in 2017, a Togolese entrepreneur named Logou Minsob efficiently invented the mannequin Foufoumix, which is so massive, it appears like a washer.
Historically, fufu remains to be made by hand, the old style method, with a mortar and pestle — a girl’s fast, agile fingers whipping and turning the combination, regularly including water with one hand and pounding the heavy pestle with the opposite.
It’s this pounding motion that correctly breaks down the fibers into the specified clean texture (that almost all dwelling meals processors can’t obtain). The ensuing combination is a sticky dough which is then made right into a ball that appears prefer it ought to subsequent be baked — nevertheless, fufu “bakes” in your stomach, filling you up and spreading you out with the pleasurable slip and slither of it and spicy soup sliding down your throat. The rewards are really in these superior efforts of elbow grease — for to have recent fufu is to have communion along with your increased energy and keep up a correspondence along with your ancestors.
With the invention of the fufu machine, preparation has develop into a lot much less labor-intensive for large-scale manufacturing in eating places and chop bars, however for essentially the most half, it’s nonetheless made by hand. With a rising diaspora of Ghanaians within the West and International North, it turned essential to repackage fufu in powdered kind — all of us have busy lives and who has time to pound fufu? (Nicely, truly, I do! I make time to pound fufu as a result of it tastes higher!)
What makes fufu so particular?
Like many conventional West African components and dishes, fufu has immense well being advantages: Not solely is it low in ldl cholesterol, it’s wealthy in fiber, potassium and resistant starch, which feeds the helpful micro organism in your intestine and should assist scale back irritation and promote digestive well being, and comprises vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. In different phrases, fufu is a one-stop carb store that does a lot good whereas filling you up.
Nassima Rothacker / Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen
However the true pleasure of the dish is the pleasure of consuming it along with your fingers: the sensuality of it, the communion with the components, the land that gives such wealthy rewards and the data that introduced them collectively. The labor of the preparation speaks by means of the dimpled dough you pinch into your palm to scoop up your soup. There’s nothing between your lips and your clear fingers aside from good, messy meals. The “problem” of fufu is making this superb dish — not consuming it.
To eat fufu is to unite along with your ancestors, queens, kings and Mom Nature — it’s a present from nature that has saved the Ashanti individuals (from which I hail) topped in glory for a whole bunch of years.
So, maintain our fufu out of your “challenges” — it deserves significantly better.