By Francine Holmes
Foufou [foo-foo] is a mashed blend of plantains, cassava or yams. Foufou is a staple dish for Akan people of Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and other parts of West Africa. It is known under a number of names: Fufu – Foutou and even Fufuo.
Foufou is made by first cooking cassava, yams or plantains by boiling them in either plain or seasoned water. The
cassava, yams or plantains are then pounded separately or together with a pillar in a traditional mortar; into a dough-like consistency.(Shown below)
Foufou is typically served with sauce. The best eating utensils for foufou are your fingers.
Eating with one’s hand is a major part of our African food culture and it has its own set of rules: Always wash your hands (if not at the sink, a bowl of soapy water with lime is provided before and after the meal is served) – Never use your left hand, it is frowned upon! it is viewed as a lack of respect for yourself, your host or guests – When eating with others in a shared pot, be polite and wait your turn.
Though some people do use the conventional fork and spoon; however locals will tell you that eating foufou by hand is a skill that is part of its appeal.
The skillful process begins by parting a small section of the soft dough with thumb and index finger, then dip it into the hot and savory sauce; all the while preventing the sauce from dripping down your arm as you’re raising it to your mouth… Once you’re done with your meal, licking your fingers prior to washing your hands is also fine. It impresses upon your host, how much you’ve enjoyed the meal.
For me, foutou, as we call it in Cote D’ivoire; is and will always be my go-to comfort food.