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“Adventures with Fufu”

“Adventures with Fufu”

Last weekend, we ate fufu for the first time. In case you forgot, fufu is very similar to banku, which we ate during our first week. Each dish is a ball of dough served with stew, but fufu is made from plantains and banku is made from corn. Since Courtney does not like tomatoes, she made her own “stew” with the flavor packet from a pack of Ramen noodles and added the fish and beef from the tomato stew. Later, she tried the fufu with the tomato stew, and we both agree that fufu > banku (Bright will not be pleased to hear this). Ruth was so thrilled that we were able to finish our bowls of fufu that she clapped and cheered when we showed her our empty bowls!

Nicole eating fufu, with Rita’s finger photobombing the scene.

Monday was a day of rest for Daniel since he arrived from London. This, in combination with everyone’s pleasure that we like fufu, meant that we not only ate fufu again for lunch, but we also learned how to make it. First, the plantains are peeled and boiled, as well as cassava, which is similar to yams. Once the vegetables are ready, they are taken outside to be pounded into dough.

Nicole works on smashing up the plantains, while Grandma enjoys her effort.

Then it is Courtney’s turn to work for her lunch as Grandma moves the plantains around the bowl.

The plantains are mashed while Grandma moves the vegetables so the person doing the smashing can target any rough pieces. This continues until the plantains form a smooth dough-like consistency (it’s not exactly dough because the only ingredients are plantains and water). The plantains are set aside, and then the process repeats with the cassava. It is important to smash the plantains and the cassava separately at first to work out all of the lumps, and then at the end both balls of dough are combined to form one large plantain-cassava mixture.

Here, the plantains (yellow) are being mixed into the cassava (white).

Grandma works on forming balls of fufu for our lunch.

Once the fufu is prepared, a ball is placed in the center of a bowl and stew is ladled over the top. The stew is generally tomato-based and spicy, and ours had some fish and beef. Ruth made a different stew on Monday that she called “peanut butter fufu”, which Courtney loved (she brought a jar of crunchy peanut butter from home), but Nicole did not like the taste much and she opted for the tomato stew.

Ruth ladles some of the peanut butter stew over fufu for Courtney.

It is interesting to note that so far, we have not encountered much food that we would call “different”, aka something we don’t eat at home. We did try the cow skin in the okro stew when we ate banku, but so far that had been the only instance. Until lunch:

Cow foot, anyone?

It just wouldn’t be a beef stew without all of the cow’s muscles, would it? Nicole actually considered trying it, but she couldn’t finish her fufu as it was. Ruth and Grandma made bigger balls of fufu since we were able to finish our meals the last two times, and this time it was too much food for Nicole. On the other hand, Courtney was so excited to eat peanut butter fufu that she requested a larger ball of fufu, so she was obligated to finish her meal. She triumphed through it and decided that from now on, she will stick with the smaller portions of fufu.

Auntie Nicole and Auntie Courtney