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While it is not the most popular dish in the world, fufu has a devoted following among those who have had the chance to try it. So, what does fufu taste like? The answer depends on what it is made from and how it is prepared.
Fufu is the mighty champion of West African cuisine, which is even mightier when placed alongside the soups and stews of West African and Caribbean countries.
It is impossible to see fufu on its own because without its soups and stew, it would be nothing but a sad little sticky dough.
Recently, fufu or foofoo started gaining popularity on social media. Thereby catching the attention of several folks who want in on the delicious secrets it holds.
For anyone planning on trying out fufu, this article will help them with everything there is to know about this West African meal.
What Is Fufu (Foo-Foo / FouFou)?
Fufu or Foofoo is a foremost Nigerian and African dish used to eat other African meals. Fufu and soup are similar to a bread or cookie and milk situation.
But this time, fufu, which serves as the bread or cookie, cannot be eaten alone. Instead, it is served with different African soups.
Foofoo has a dough-like, sticky build and usually is white, cream or vanilla. Fufu requires a good amount of arm strength to make.
For the longest time, I would not dare eat fufu without it being generously coated in a lot of soup.
If granted, I’d eat a bowl of soup with just an armful of fufu. The most popular soup paired alongside fufu is the esteemed egusi soup.
This soup is made from blended melon seeds, tomato puree, and palm oil.
Other soups commonly spotted besides fufu are ogbono soup, okra soup, vegetable soup, fisherman soup, 0fe nsala soup, bitter leaf soup (onugbu soup), ofe ora soup, oha soup, afang soup, and a lot more.
What Is Fufu Made Of?
Fufu is a cultural food that is made from starchy food crops with a mixture of a bit of water.
What most West Africans, or specifically Nigerians, refer to as fufu is usually a thick paste made from Cassava only.
However, African fufu is a general term for food made from a starchy root vegetable that is grounded and later cooked over heat.
Fufu ingredients are usually cassava, yam, maize (corn), plantain, wheat, corn, rice, or oatmeal.
The Different Types of Fufu
This spongy cassava dough is also known as akpu, santana, loi-loi, or banku when mixed with corn.
It is popularly known as Eba. Eba is the most common and popular fufu.
As the name states, this fufu is made from yam that has been boiled, pounded, and cooked with water to a thick paste.
This fufu is made from wheat and is lovingly called semo by Nigerians.
Everyone can guess where this fufu is made from. If anyone said unripe or green plantains, they are right. Or black plantains, as Nigerians like to call them.
This unripe plantain is blended and then cooked over a stove.
This meal is a staple food in Northern and Western Nigeria. Although it’s called black fufu, it’s actually brown and has a more gooey texture in comparison to other types of fufu.
Most Nigerians call this meal Amala and eat it with Ewedu.
Why You Should Try Fufu
- Delicious: One primary reason everyone should try fufu is that there is literally no better way to enjoy the vast cuisine of West African soups than with fufu.
- Nutritional value: Fufu is filled with numerous nutrients that are essential to the body. Fufu contains vitamins, minerals, potassium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and carbohydrates.
- Energy: Carbohydrate is a significant source of energy in the body, and just a 100g serving of fufu gives the body 267 kcal of energy! That amount of energy is enough to keep anyone running for an entire day. The best part of fufu is that despite its high carbohydrate content, it is a low cholesterol meal.
- Healthy: Fufu helps to regulate blood sugar levels, makes bowel movement easier, and reduces the formation of kidney stones. All this nutrition comes from fufu alone; now imagine when it’s combined with any of the numerous West African soups.
What Does Fufu Taste Like?
The taste of fufu differs, but fufu mostly tastes bland, sour, or tart.
So if anyone makes fufu for the first time and it does not taste fantastic or spicy, that person did a great job. They should be worried when their fufu tastes sweet or has a distinct taste on its own.
For some people, fufu tastes like a mix between a potato and a sweet potato.
How Healthy Is Fufu?
Fufu is very healthy, so experts recommend that everyone eats fufu at least once a week. fufu is packed with several nutrients that the body requires.
Fufu is rich in fiber, so it improves your digestive health and decreases high blood pressure and inflammation.
It is also low in cholesterol, protecting the heart from cardiovascular diseases and regulating cholesterol levels.
How Long Does Fufu Take To Digest?
Fufu takes a long time to digest. It can take up to 7 hours to digest because it is not a simple carbohydrate. Simple carbohydrates take a shorter time to digest.
Where to Find Fufu
- Marketplaces: Depending on an individual’s location, fufu can be found at a local marketplace in most countries.
- Websites: Fufu can also be found on various sites that deliver them to specific locations. Sites like supermart.ng, Amazon, and Walmart.
- Restaurants: Most African or Afro-Caribbean restaurants sell all or most kinds of fufu. All people have to do is locate the one nearest to them. These restaurants can also deliver to homes if need be.
Does FooFoo Go Bad?
Yes, just like any other meal, fufu can also go bad, especially when it’s been kept for too long or wasn’t appropriately preserved.
It can sometimes be difficult to tell if fufu is no longer safe to consume. Because it still smells the same most times. But if the smell becomes extremely putrid or the texture changes, it’s time to throw it out.
5 Best Substitutes For Fufu
This is a healthier version of the West African/Caribbean fufu. From its name, anyone can tell this swallow is made from Cauliflower and it is very rich in fiber.
This swallow is a perfect substitute for Amala Fufu. It is a low-carb swallow as opposed to Amala Fufu which is a high-carb swallow.
This swallow is also another amazing low-carb substitute that is made from Almonds. It contains protein, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, and antioxidants.
Tigernut swallow is made from the chaff of tiger nut after its milk has been extracted. And just like other substitutes on the list, it is very nutritious.
This swallow is made from Coconut flour. Some people may decide to make it more interesting by adding oats. Coconut swallow is best enjoyed with vegetable or okra soup.
How To Store Fufu
I prefer to eat my fufu immediately after preparing it. But if that’s not an option or if you prepare too much, you can store fufu.
The best way to store fufu is to wrap it in a plastic bag or what Nigerians call “nylon bags.”
If anyone decides to consume their fufu the next day, ensure the fufu is wrapped tight and placed in a room temperature environment. It could also be kept in the pantry or on a kitchen shelf.
However, if they plan on eating their fufu later during the week. They should wrap it tightly and place it in the fridge. It is best to eat your fufu within a week of refrigerating.
When ready to eat the fufu, take it out of the fridge and boil it in a pot filled with hot water (don’t take off the plastic wrap). Or microwave it.
- 400 g ground melon seeds (egusi)
- 8 oz palm Oil or a little more or less depending on preference
- 3-4 tbsp locust beans
- 50 g chopped spinach
- 16 oz pepper mixture (bell pepper and habanero pepper)
- 1 large onion, ground/finely chopped
- 1-3 Stock cubes
- 1 lb beef
- 1/2 lb cow skin (or beef tripe)
- 1/2 lb smoked fish
- 1 tbs ground crayfish
- 16 oz beef broth
- Salt To Taste
- In a separate bowl, mix the ground melon and half of the onion together with a small amount of water (2-4 tbsp) until you get a lumpy paste.
- Add palm oil to saucepan and heat on medium heat. Be careful not to overheat the oil.
- Saute the remaining half of the onion in the hot palm oil.
- Add your onion-melon paste in lumps to the saucepan.
- Let the paste fry for about a minute or until it's darker in color, then delicately flip over.
- Remove the cooked lumps of melon and set them aside.
- Use the same oil to fry your onion and pepper mixture. Add the beef broth and locust beans. You can transfer for a bigger pot if needed.
- Cook for about 10-15 minutes until most of the water has evaporated and pepper sauce looks dark red.
- Add the smoked fish, cooked beef, cowskin, and prepared ground melon lumps.
- Now add your seasoning powder (stock cubes) and salt. Stir lightly so as not to break the fried egusi.
- Add your chopped spinach and stir. Let the soup cook for about 5 minutes.
- Serve hot with your favorite accompaniment (i.e., swallow) or rice, if you dare.
- Locust beans may be omitted from the dish if you are not a fan of its smell.
- If your soup is too thick, add some broth or water. Some people prefer egusi soup they can "scoop up" with their pounded yam and others prefer egusi with more sauce.
- The taste of your egusi soup will be remarkably different if you go with spinach instead of bitter leaf.
- If your soup is too bitter, consider washing your bitter leaves a little longer and changing the water frequently.
- You can add as much leafy greens as you want to this recipe. It's a great way to meet your daily fiber intake.
- Watch the amount of salt you add to the soup. It's easy for egusi to get too salty -due to salt from the broth and evaporation from the soup.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1069Total Fat: 68gSaturated Fat: 31gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 1152mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 22gSugar: 11gProtein: 63g
* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for the most accurate results.
What To Eat Fufu With
Aside from these soups, there are a ton of other soups that go great with foofoo. Soups like bitterleaf soup (onugbu soup), ofe ora soup, oha soup, afang soup, and groundnut soup.
Some people love to eat their fufu with tomato stew. It could be beef stew, chicken stew, or even fish stew.
There are many choices and options available to eat with fufu, so everyone should pick what works best for them.
FAQ About Fufu
What are “swallow foods”?
Swallow foods are starchy vegetables, tubers, or grains pounded, then cooked and kneaded until soft, thick, and sticky. These foods are called swallow foods because you eat them by swallowing. No chewing, only swallowing.
And no, it’s not a choking hazard. These foods are soft enough to slide down the throat easily, especially after dousing in soup or stew.
Why do you not chew fufu?
Fun fact, some people chew fufu. It’s a personal decision, although most people swallow their fufu without chewing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with chewing foofoo, except it’s unusual and weird because it’s a “swallow food.”
Can you eat fufu by itself?
Well, it’s not illegal to do so, but it would be the death of your taste buds and a very agonizing meal. Fufu doesn’t offer any flavor, which is why it is eaten alongside other staple West African soups and stews.
Does Fufu Taste Like Bread?
Earlier, fufu was called the bread of African cuisine, but it doesn’t taste like bread. Not even a little bit.
Does Fufu Taste Like Potatoes?
Potatoes are actually yummy; fufu, on the other hand, is bland and can be sour. So, no, fufu doesn’t taste like potatoes.
How many calories are in fufu?
The number of calories varies based on what the fufu is made from. But 100g of Cassava fufu contains 156 calories. It could be higher or lower depending on how the fufu is prepared.
So, What Does Fufu Taste Like?
Fufu or foofoo has a sour, bland, or tart taste. So everyone eats it with other West African soups or stews.
Foofoo is made from the powder of blended or grounded starchy tubers, vegetables, or wheat with no spice or ingredients. So it’s normal for fufu to have little to no taste.
Suppose there’s anyone who hasn’t tried fufu and egusi soup or fufu with any other soup.
That person is about to have the experience of a lifetime because once you taste this tantalizing combo, there’s no going back.
For more frequently asked questions, visit our index of food-related questions and answers. Here are a few recipe suggestions for you: