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Fufu has a devoted following among those who have had the chance to try it. What does fufu taste like? Does it taste like sweet potatoes? I tried it!

what is fufu and what does fufu taste like

What does fufu taste like? The answer depends on what it is made from and how it is prepared.

While it is not the most popular dish in the world, fufu has a devoted following among those who have tried it. 

Fufu is the mighty champion of West African cuisine, and it is even mightier when enjoyed alongside the soups and stews of African and Caribbean countries.

Garri and Pounded Yam served with Ogbono Soup ready to eat

Fufu is not usually eaten alone because, quite frankly, without soups and stews, it would just be a sticky dough. It needs the rich flavors of other dishes and those dishes need fufu’s delicious texture for the best gastronomic experience. 

Recently, fufu or foofoo started gaining popularity on social media. This catches the attention of several folks who want in on the delicious secrets it holds.

So, for anyone planning on trying out fufu, this article will help them with everything there is to know and expect about this West African staple.

What Is Fufu (Foofoo / Foufou)?

Fufu, foufou, or foofoo, is a foremost side dish eaten with other African meals. Think of fufu and soup/stew like a cookie and milk situation.

But unlike a cookie, fufu does not fly solo. It’s not usually eaten alone and is almost always served with different African dishes like stews and soups.

Foofoo is white and has a dough-like, sticky consistency. It actually requires a good amount of arm strength to make!

However, 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 with fufu is the esteemed Egusi soup.

what does fufu taste like

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, Ofe Nsala soup, bitter leaf soup (Ofe Onugbu soup), Ora soup, Oha soup, and Afang soup

What Is Fufu Made Of?

Fufu is made from starchy food crops mixed with a bit of water.

What most West Africans, specifically Nigerians, refer to as fufu is a thick paste made from fresh or fermented cassava.

However, African fufu is a general term for food made from a starchy root vegetable that is grounded and later cooked over heat.

Besides cassava, fufu can also be made from yam, plantain, wheat, corn, rice, or oatmeal.

Types of Fufu

Cassava Fufu

This spongy cassava dough is also known as Akpu, Santana, Loi Loi, or Banku when mixed with cornmeal.

Grated Cassava Fufu or Garri

It is popularly known as Eba in Nigeria. But what does cassava fufu taste like?

It depends on how the cassava is processed. Cassava fufu will taste neutral if the cassava is unfermented and sour if it is fermented.

Plantain Fufu

Everyone can guess where this fufu is made from. And in case you’re wondering, you’ll use unripe or green plantains that are blended and then cooked over a stove.

What does plantain fufu taste like?

If you’re fond of sweet potatoes, you’ll like plantain fufu. It has the same mildly sweet taste.

Pounded Yam Fufu

As the name states, this fufu is made from yam that has been boiled, pounded, and cooked with water to form a thick paste.

Black Yam Fufu

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 lightweight swallow Amala and eat it with Ewedu.

Semolina Fufu

This fufu is made from wheat and is lovingly called semo by Nigerians.

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.
  • Wholesome: Fufu is rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamins. It is also low in cholesterol! Talk about a filling side dish that will also make your body feel good
  • Hearty: Need energy to keep you running for an entire day? Fill up with fufu! Paired with other nourishing African soups and stews, you’ll get a delicious and satisfying meal. 

What Does Fufu Taste Like?

Does fufu taste good?

The taste of fufu differs, but it ranges from bland to sweet and sour, depending on the type of fufu. 

If you need help imagining it, fufu tastes like a mix between a potato and a sweet potato.

Is fufu spicy?

No. If anything, fufu has a mild flavor, so it’s the perfect accompaniment to spicy foods. 

Is fufu sweet or salty?

If made with plantains, fufu can have a slight sweetness to it, best paired with rich and savory dishes.

But since it’s not made with salt, fufu is not salty.

How does fufu taste? It’s actually more on the bland side.

How Healthy Is Fufu?

Well, even though it’s a carb, which means it’s best enjoyed in moderation, fufu is rich in fiber and potassium, which benefits digestion. 

It also contains vitamins, and considering it’s often eaten with other wholesome and hearty stews and soups, you have yourself a filling meal. 

How long does fufu take to digest?

Fufu takes a long time to digest. It can take over 6 hours to digest, so eating fufu at night might not be a good idea digestion-wise. 

Remember that the best foods eaten during nighttime are light ones.

Can you gain weight eating fufu?

It’s possible since fufu is rich in carbohydrates. Fufu is made from starchy ingredients, which are the opposite of the recommended foods for those who don’t want to gain weight (non-starchy foods.)

Can you eat fufu on a keto diet?

The keto diet is low in carbs, so opt for low-carb variations of fufu and not the common starchy ones. Almond flour fufu can be a part of the keto diet!

Where to Find Fufu

  • Marketplaces: Fufu can be found in local marketplaces in Africa.
  • Websites: For convenience, you can buy fufu from sites like supermart.ng, Amazon, and Walmart, and just have it delivered at home.
  • Restaurants: Most African and Afro-Caribbean restaurants sell all, if not most, kinds of fufu. 

Does Foofoo Go Bad?

Yes, just like any other cooked meal, fufu can go bad, especially when it’s been kept for too long or wasn’t appropriately stored.

How do you tell if the fufu has gone bad?

If it smells extremely putrid, it’s a good sign to throw it away.

5 Best Substitutes For Fufu

Cauliflower Swallow

This is a healthier version of the African/fufu. As you can assume from its name, this swallow is made from cauliflower, making it a good low carb alternative to fufu made from starchy ingredients.

Eggplant Swallow

Another low carb alternative to your usual fufu is the eggplant swallow or eggplant amala fufu.

If you love traditional Amala fufu, this makes the perfect substitute because it’s as soft and sticky.

Almond Flour Swallow

Can’t find ingredients like cassava and plantain to make fufu? You can make fufu from almond flour!

This swallow has a bland taste, so it will pair well with flavorful soups.

Tigernut Swallow

If you’ve made jigi jigi, use the chaff to make tigernut fufu!

Coconut Swallow

Got some extra coconut flour in your pantry? Turn it into a swallow best paired with okra soup. Some even add oats to this low carb fufu.

How To Store Fufu

I prefer to eat my fufu immediately after preparing it. But if that’s not an option or if you prepared too much, you can store fufu and enjoy it for later.

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 tightly and stored at room temperature. The kitchen shelf would be perfect.

However, if they plan on eating their fufu later during the week, store the swallow in the fridge.

  • Fridge: Wrap the fufu tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Freezer: If you won’t eat the fufu within the week, place the wrapped dough in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: When you’re ready to eat the fufu, fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Then, slightly turn the heat down, add the fufu inside, and cover with a lid for 5 minutes.

What To Eat With Fufu

African Soups

There are numerous soups that are just waiting for their fufu.

Most people prefer to eat their fufu with Egusi (melon soup), vegetable soup, or Ogbono soup.

Aside from these, there are a ton of other soups that’ll go great with foofoo’s mild taste and soft, chewy texture.

Try your swallow with bitter leaf soup (Onugbu soup), Ofe Ora soup, Oha soup, Afang soup, or groundnut soup.

African Stews

Some people love to eat their fufu with tomato stew. You can also serve fufu with beef stew, chicken stew, or even fish stew if you love meat.

So whatever you’re craving for the day, you best believe that there’s a fufu pairing for it. 

What Type of Fufu Is the Best?

Everyone has their own preference, but if it’s your first time trying fufu, you can’t go wrong with the most popular type, the cassava fufu. 

This mild-tasting and elastic swallow is a favorite in West and Central Africa, typically served with a bold soup or rich stew. 

Or, if you have unripe plantains, you can also make plantain fufu.

Just note that ripe plantains won’t work, and you won’t get the perfect doughy consistency that makes fufu an irresistible side to sauces and other hearty African dishes.

What Does Fufu and Egusi Soup Taste Like?

Want to have a traditional experience with fufu? Have it alongside Egusi soup!

Egusi soup is made from blended melon seeds, vegetables, and meat. It pairs well with the light taste of fufu because it’s nutty, umami, and earthy. 

Here’s what Egusi soup tastes like. Describing this soup in three words is not enough.

What Does Egusi Soup Taste Like

FAQ About Fufu

What are “swallow foods”?

Swallow foods are so-called because you eat them by, well, swallowing. But don’t worry, they don’t pose a choking hard. Swallows are soft, dough-like foods typically made from starchy vegetables or grains. 

Are you supposed to chew or swallow fufu?

Fufu is a swallow, so technically, you are supposed to just swallow fufu. But of course, it’s up to you if you want to chew it. Some people do!

Can you eat fufu by itself?

It’s not like you’ll be arrested if you eat fufu by itself. However, it’s a bland food, and it’s best enjoyed alongside delicious soups. Eating it on its own won’t do the African staple justice.

Does fufu taste like rice?

Fufu’s neutral taste is often compared to rice, but it would be more appropriate to describe its taste as rice meets potato. 

Does fufu taste like bread?

Fufu doesn’t taste like bread, but fufu and soup are as delicious as bread and soup. 

Does fufu taste like potatoes?

Yes. Some people even compare the taste of fufu as right between potatoes and sweet potatoes. Just note that there are different kinds of fufu, some are even slightly sour, and don’t taste like potatoes. 

How many calories are in fufu?

One of the most common types of fufu, the cassava fufu has around 142 calories per 100 grams. The calories in fufu will depend on its ingredients.

How To Make Egusi Soup

How To Make Egusi Soup

Yield: 1 pot
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Trying to make a healthy and tasty meal can be difficult, especially if you're not familiar with African cuisine. Egusi soup is the perfect solution.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Add palm oil to saucepan and heat on medium heat. Be careful not to overheat the oil.
  3. Saute the remaining half of the onion in the hot palm oil.
  4. Add your onion-melon paste in lumps to the saucepan.
  5. Let the paste fry for about a minute or until it's darker in color, then delicately flip over.
  6. Remove the cooked lumps of melon and set them aside.
  7. 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.
  8. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until most of the water has evaporated and pepper sauce looks dark red.
  9. Add the smoked fish, cooked beef, cowskin, and prepared ground melon lumps.
  10. Now add your seasoning powder (stock cubes) and salt. Stir lightly so as not to break the fried egusi.
  11. Add your chopped spinach and stir. Let the soup cook for about 5 minutes.
  12. Serve hot with your favorite accompaniment (i.e., swallow) or rice, if you dare.

Notes

  • 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.

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Conclusion

So, what does fufu taste like?

Fufu, foufou, or foofoo can have a mild, sour, or even slightly sweet taste because this swallow can be made from various ingredients.

The popular types can be made from cassava, plantain, or yam. 

It’s typically not eaten alone, so don’t be surprised if you tried it and it tasted bland. The popular fufu is undoubtedly the best accompaniment to soups and stews in West Africa.

Once you have tasted the delightful combination of fufu and soup/stew, it’ll be hard to go back to bread or rice as your side. 

What’s your soup of choice with fufu?

Nigerian Pounded yam wrapped in plastic served with Banga Soup

For more frequently asked questions, visit our index of food-related questions and answers. Here are a few curious questions for you:

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