Skip the boxed flour, and make your own plantain fufu at home.
Growing up fufu was a big component of my family’s diet. I grew up eating iyan, which in Yoruba is pounded yam, lafun - a finely milled cassava, and eba - a courser yellow or white cassava. All were in powdered form. All are prepared by adding the powder to hot water and stirring vigorously over medium heat, except eba - it can be stirred off the stove.
So long we had, obe ata (red stew) in the house, fufu was always an option. For me, my favorite was amala and on occasion lafun, mainly because of how light it was for me, the others felt too dense. You can imagine after growing up with these three types of fufu, I was hesitant to try something new.
Ingredients & Tools
Fast forward to adult age – when I returned home from college, I noticed my mom enjoying different types of fufu (thanks to WhatsApp). In the cupboard, I now noticed containers full of oat fufu, semolina, and I noticed my mom purchasing more and more green plantain. One day with a curious eye, I watched her remove the peels from the green plantains, blend it to the blender, then pour it into the pot, in which she stirred and turned it until it became more like the fufu that I was familiar with.
🥔 What is Fufu?
Before we start talking about fufu, it is important to start with the question; what is fufu? Fufu is a popular food in West Africa. Fufu is often called a swallow. Fufu is not limited to plantains, fufu can be made with a variety of starches like cocoyam, yam, cassava, oats, semolina - the list can be endless if you get creative enough. Each country and region tend to favor the crop that grows best in their climate. The starch is usually dried and turned into a powder or boiled to soften then mashed and pounded over heat until it forms a smooth ball.
Now a days, most if not all fufu can be found in a powder form.
So Why Not Buy Powdered Plantain Fufu?
Well, you certainly can buy plantain fufu in the powdered form, however, I have noticed that the brands I am most familiar with have a few other ingredients that I do not want in it. Tropiway was my go-to brand for no wahala plantain fufu, however, if you’re big on getting what you buy, you will be disappointed to see that potato is listed as the first or second ingredient.
I’ve seen 100% plantain brands, however after making it – it appear very similar to the Tropiway brand, which leads me to believe that the brand is not adding all ingredients to the list.
Of all the powders, iyan was the most popular swallow at home. It was also the one powder that we bought that had the most filler ingredients. It's important to pay attention to the ingredients.
💭 Tips for the Perfect Plantain Fufu
I’ve been making plantain fufu once every two months – whenever the craving hits – and I haven’t made a bad batch yet. I believe the biggest obstacle that you may encounter is using too much water. Hopefully this tips can help you:
- Green plantain works best
- When peeling the plantain, cut off the two ends, then deeply scour the plantain end to end multiple times
- Removing the green skin can be difficult – try to wedge your thumb along the slits you scoured to get a better grip on the skin
- Chop your plantain in 1-2inch rounds (to help your blender)
- Gradually add water as you blend, you’re going for a slurry
- Stir until you can't stir anymore
- Keep an eye on the color change – you want it to go from greenish-yellow to brownish-yellow.
- Do not walk away, this is an engaging dish. Your fufu needs all of the attention
Using a Mold
Plantain fufu is very light. When hot it will take on the shape of whatever you put it in. If you plate your fufu immediately off the heat, you will get a very flat fufu. Which to me is fine – however, if you’re going for an aesthetically pleasing dish, I recommend you add a tablespoon of water to a small bowl or ramekin, pour your plantain fufu in, then let it cool. Once cool, you can shake it into (you can use a spoon if yours is sticking) your soup of choice.
Here are some dishes to Enjoy your Fufu with:
- 2 Green Plantains
- Peel your plantains by cutting off both ends and scoring along the length of your plantain several times.
- Cut into 1 to 1.5-inch rounds and add to a blender.
- Add 1 cup of water and blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a saucepan over medium heat.
- Begin mixing and stirring your plantains until it begins to thicken
- Continue stirring until the consistency is thick and dense
- Add ¼ cups of water and mix - allowing your plantain fufu to steam and cook fully
If Using a Mold
- Add a tsp of water to a small bowl to coat the sides
- Spoon a portion of the fufu into the bowl and let cool/set
Serve with your choice of stew, and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 173Total Fat: .3gSaturated Fat: .2gCarbohydrates: 38.7gFiber: 3.3gSugar: 1.2gProtein: 1.5g