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Cooking in Africa ~ Fufu


Fufu is a staple meal  in West Africa and is like to potatoes to Americans.   It is a meal that is made from yams, cassava or plantains.  In Togo it was mostly made with yams or cassava.  This root bound plant is boiled like a potato and then pounded using a mortar and pestle until it becomes the consistency of dough.  Once it is the right consistency then it is shaped into a ball form and eaten with soup  ~ chicken, goat or peanut soup.

In Togo, were I first ate Fufu, it was served on a plate with a bowl of soup.  In other African countries the fufu is served with the soup around it.  If the fufu isn’t soft, often a small amount of the soup is poured on the fufu to help soften it before eating it.

When this meal is served, you first are offered a bowl to wash your hands and also at the end of the meal you are offered another bowl to wash your hands.  You only need to wash one hand – your right hand.

You might think that this meal is eaten with a spoon.  You are mistaken.  It is eaten with your hands and only your right hand.  In most African countries it is considered disgraceful to eat with your left hand.  Your left hand is considered dirty and right hand is your clean hand.  To eat this properly you break of a small ball of the fufu and roll it in your fingers and making a small indent into it.  Then you dip it into the hot soup and grab some of the soup and contents in your fingers and eat it.  You can use a spoon to eat the soup.  It is normal for a family to share this meal from the same plate and bowl.  If you ever get a chance to travel to Western Africa, make sure you eat fufu, it is an experience that you do not want to miss. 

Yams are very beneficial to you and you may want to start thinking about including them into your diet.  They are a good source of Vitamin  B6 and Potassium both good for your heart.  They also have antioxidant vitamin C which can help with cancer prevention and also protects from immune system deficiencies    Yams are low in calories and rich in fiber so they feel you up  without going to your waist line

This is how you would see fufu being served with a soup in Togo. Notice the water to wash your hands first.


Fufu is made primarily of pounded yams but can also be made of pounded cassava or plantains


  • 1-2 pounds yams
  • Water


  1. Cook yams covered in water until soft
  2. Once soft place yams in mortar and pound with pestle until consistency of dough approximately 20 minutes. If yams stick to pestle, dip pestle in water and continue to pound
  3. Once fufu is to the consistency you want it, using hands to form into a flat ball form
  4. Serve with soup.


This article was original posted on This and That

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Marlys @This and That

A Canadian transplant into USA with an African husband, you can see my adventures in internationally cooking over at This and That.

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  1. Busy Vegetarian Mom says:

    I love this Marlys! It looks good to eat but I bet it takes some practice to eat with only one hand!

    1. Thanks Tracy, It does take some practice, especially when the soup is hot to touch..but I am getting better and I don’t have soup running down my arm anymore :)… It just doesn’t taste the same using a spoon.

    2. Nichole says:

      The only reson I’m here is to research

      1. Nichole says:

        Jkjk I actually wanna try it

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