Ghana-style Dumplings

Fufu

I have never succeeded in preparing “real” fufu in the U.S., despite once bringing a Ghanaian mortar and pestle with me. Experiments with blenders, food processors, microwaves, and “make-do” mortars and pestles also failed. So in the U.S., Ghana-style fufu is usually made from boxed fufu powder, readily available in many international or African markets. There are various versions, generally called plantain and cocoyam flour, yam and plantain flour, or plain yam fufu flour. All I have seen also include potato granules. While fufu may be prepared on a stovetop, the easiest way is to use a microwave, except for large batches. Note that serving sizes in Ghana are much larger than recommended for North Americans.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Ghanaian boxed fufu flour, any type

Method

Directions for microwave

  1. In a large, round glass or ceramic bowl, pitcher, or pan, mix the fufu flour with 2 cups water, stirring with your hand, a whisk, or a spoon to dissolve all the lumps. Microwave uncovered on high for 3 minutes.
  2. Remove the container, using potholders if necessary. Stir the fufu with a strong wooden spoon or stirring stick for 1 to 2 minutes, smashing any lumps and mixing the fufu from the outside towards the center in a folding motion similar to the way one folds whipped cream into a batter, only the fufu is much thicker and harder to stir and turn.
  3. Return the fufu to the microwave oven and cook on high for 3 minutes. Remove the bowl and repeat the stirring process. If the fufu seems dry, sprinkle up to ⅓ cup of water over it but do not mix it in. Return the fufu to the microwave oven for another 3 minutes. Allow the fufu to sit briefly, then pour off any extra water that remains on top (if added)—do not mix it into the fufu.
  4. Wet a bowl, spoon, or your hands, and form fufu balls the desired size and place onto a moistened plate or platter to keep them from sticking. The fufu will be hot, so be careful if using your hands. (A good size is about ¾ of a cup for those familiar with fufu, smaller for those just trying it.)

Directions for stovetop

  1. Mix the fufu powder with 2 cups of cold water in a saucepan. Put it on the stovetop on medium heat, stir constantly with a heavy wooden spoon or stirring stick as it heats and begins to thicken.
  2. Continue turning the fufu, stirring from the inside to the outside. A little additional water may be added as necessary by pouring it around the outside edges of the pan, and lowering the heat, to keep the fufu from scorching. It will take a strong arm and about 20 minutes to reach the proper elasticity. Form into balls as described in Step 4 above.

To serve

  • After forming into balls, put the fufu into individual bowls and ladle a little soup over. Alternatively, people may help themselves to fufu and then have the soup served. (If you or the diners are cutting larger balls of fufu into smaller servings, have a spoon in a cup of water nearby to wet the spoon before cutting and serving the fufu to prevent it from sticking.) In restaurants, the soup and fufu are served together.
  • While “soup and fufu” is a common meal by itself, for a non-traditional twist one may serve two or three mini teaspoon-size balls of fufu in a light soup as a first course to a meal.

Variation

If you cannot find fufu flour, substitute 1 cup potato starch flour mixed with 2 cups instant mashed potatoes and 4 cups of water. Cook as described above.