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A plate of fufu (right) accompanied by peanut soup
Alternative name(s) foofoo; foufou; fufuo; foutou; sakora; sakoro; couscous de Cameroun
Region or state West Africa
Main ingredient(s) Usually cassava
Approximate calories
per serving
267 per 100g made up with water
Fufu (left) and palm nut soup (right)

Fufu (variants of the name include foofoo, fufuo, foufou) is a staple food with deep roots in Ghana's history and common in many countries of West Africa and the Caribbean. It is often made with cassava flour.[1] Other flours, such as semolina, maize flour or mashed plantains may take the place of Cassava flour. Fufu, served alongside soup, usually Groundnut Soup, is a national dish of Ghana.

An alternative method is to boil starchy food crops like cassava, yams or plantains and cocoyams and then pound them into a dough-like consistency. Fufu is eaten with the fingers, and a small ball of it can be dipped into an accompanying soup or sauce. Foods made in this manner are known by different names in different places. However, the word fufu stands out as the derivative of the Twi language of the Akan in Ghana, West Africa. It is from the Twi word fufuo meaning "white", due to its appearance. Fufuo, then, is the original way to refer to the dish. Among the Baule and other Akan groups in Cote d'Ivoire , it is known as sakora; among the Dagombas of Northern Ghana as sakoro; and as couscous (couscous de Cameroun) in the French-speaking regions of Cameroon (not to be confused with the North African dish couscous).[2]

African fufu

Portuguese traders introduced the cassava to Africa from Brazil in the 16th century.[1] In Ghana, before cassava was introduced, yam was the fufu's main ingredient. In some situations, plantains or cocoyams. In Nigeria, Togo and Cameroon, fufu is white and sticky (if plantain is not mixed with the cassava when pounding). 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.

A similar staple in the African Great Lakes region is ugali. It is usually made from maize flour (masa), and is also eaten in Southern Africa. The name ugali is used to refer to the dish in Kenya and Tanzania. Closely related staples are called nshima in Zambia, nsima in Malawi, sadza in Zimbabwe, pap in South Africa, posho in Uganda, luku, fufu, nshima, moteke, semoule, ugali and bugari in Republic of the Congo and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and phaletshe in Botswana.

Caribbean fufu

In Caribbean nations with substantial populations of West African origin, such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico, plantains, yucca, or yams are mashed with other delectable ingredients (fufú nigeriano).[3] In Cuba, the dish retains its original African stem name, termed simply as fufú or with added descriptive extensions like fufú de platano or fufú de platano pintón.[4] On other major islands, fufú goes by the names of mangú in the Dominican Republic and mofongo 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.[5]

The Puerto Rican Mofongo depicts the Creole Caribbean trend toward the fufú's higher density and robust seasoning. While keeping a conspicuous African character, the Mofongo has borrowed from nearby hybrid traditions, like the Taino and Iberian to create an exclusive plantain dish--in other words, no yucca and no maize. As the relatively recent appearance of the relleno indicates (explained below), the Mofongo continues to evolve. And though few restaurant prints "Mofongo" in their breakfast menu people in their homes on the island and across the diaspora, continue to tinker with family recipes Perhaps because of its elaborate preparation, the Mofongo shows up not in restaurant breakfast menus, but in lunch and dinner tables instead. And unlike the mushier Caribbean and West African fufús, the Mofongo is crustier.

The simple green plantains begin their journey toward the higher state of mofongo with a bath in deeo fry oil. They come out fried, not unlike the crispy tostones. Next, they are mashed with broth, garlic, and olive oil. The resulting lump is then pressed and rounded into a crusty orb. And just before exhaustion, meat, traditionally chicharrón, gets muscled and stuffed into the chunky ball of browned 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. The classic Mofongo dish, however, comes seasoned and stuffed with meat, and bathed in a chicken broth soup.[6] 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." [7]

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. In Haiti it is called tum tum. It is mostly made of breadfruit but can be made of plantain or yams. Also it is usually served with an okra based stew or soup.


Fufu, as well as other starchy food, is eaten in a great number of African countries—especially by the Asante, the Akyem, the Bono and the Fante peoples of the Akan ethnic group of Ghana the ewes of Togo and the Ivory Coast. It features in Togolese cuisine Guinean cuisine, Cameroonian cuisine, as well as Nigerian cuisine.

Fufu’s prevalence in the West African subregion has been noted in literature produced by authors from that area. It is mentioned in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, for example.


Pieces of boiled cassava or other tubers are pounded together in a giant wooden mortar using a wooden pestle. In between blows from the pestle, the mixture is turned by hand and water gradually added till it becomes slurry and sticky. The mixture is then formed into a ball or a rounded slab and served. With the invention of the Fufu Machine preparation has become much less labour-intensive.


Nutritionally, 100 g dry weight fufu contains 2 g of protein, 0.1 g of fat and 84 g of carbohydrate. There are 267 kcal of food energy in a 100 g serving made up with water.[8]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Nweke, Felix I. "THE CASSAVA TRANSFORMATION IN AFRICA". United Nations. Retrieved 10 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. DeLancey, Mark W., and Mark Dike DeLancey (2000). Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon, 3rd ed. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, p. 134.
  3. Wheatley, Christopher (1997). Metodos para agregar valor a raices y tuberculos alimenticios: manual para el desarrollo de productos. CIAT. p. 17. ISBN 9589439896.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Rabade Roque, Raquel (2011). The Cuban Kitchen. NY: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 151. ISBN 0307595439.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Martinez, Daisy (2013). Daisy Cooks!: Latin Flavors That Will Rock Your World. Hachette Books.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Food and Identity in the Caribbean, Hanna Garth, Ed. 2013 Bloomsbury Press.
  7. Daghetto, Arose N. (2011). "Say Whaaat??– Fufu and Mofongo!". Article. Literature Voodoo-- Quite Storm Enterprises. Retrieved December 17, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "How many calories are in Golden Tropics Cocoyam Fufu Flour". slimkicker.com. SlimKicker. 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links