Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fun with Fufu

We had a lot of fun with last night's dinner, and I just couldn't wait until Friday to post photos of it!

While shopping in a small African grocery store, we came upon a box of fufu mix.



I'd never had fufu before, and am always up for trying something fun and new. Fufu is a staple of African (especially West and Central African) cuisine, and can be made with different starches, specifially cassava and yam.

Here is a link to the Wikipedia article describing Fufu:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fufu


Here is a picture of cassava that I found on the web:



Fufu is usually eaten with a "sauce"- a thick stew that you scoop up with the fufu. I tried to think up a good recipe for a sauce for dinner. I came up with this recipe that came out really delicious. I am totally ignorant of West African cuisine, but I tried using ingredients that might plausibly be authentic.

Bazu's Groundnut Stew (vegan)

Ingredients:

peanut oil for sauteeing
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 medium carrots, diced small
2 medium potatoes, diced small (I didn't have any on hand, but I'm sure sweet potatoes would be fabulous here as well)
1 cup sliced okra (I used frozen)
2/3 cup corn (I used frozen)
1 small-medium chilli (to taste) chopped
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
2/3 large can crushed tomatoes (about 18-20 oz.)
1/4 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup groundnut paste (natural peanut butter ;-)
2 TB coriander
dash jerk seasoning
dash red pepper flakes
salt and freshly gound pepper to taste
water as necessary to adjust thickness

Directions:
  • heat peanut oil in a heavy pot and add onions to sautee over med-high heat
  • once onions are starting to get translucent, add carrots, potatoes, and chilli
  • add all the spices and sautee for 5-6 minutes
  • add okra and corn
  • meanwhile, roast peanuts in a toaster oven or stovetop until fragrant
  • add peanuts to vegetables
  • turn heat as high as possible without burning vegetables
  • once pot is hot, add diced and crushed tomatoes- it is important for the tomatoes to cook at very high heat and caramelize for authentic flavor
  • stir constantly, making sure the tomatoes do not stick to sides of pan
  • once tomatoes have cooked for a few minutes, add peanut butter and stir until combined
  • at this point the stew should be really thick. Add a bit of water if necessary.
  • Let mixture come to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 45 - 60 minutes
Eat with fufu or the starch of your choice!



Now on to the scary part- making the fufu! I realized that making fufu out of a box is probably no better than making mashed potatoes out of a box, and that this would be so much better if mashed from boiled cassavas or yams. But this was a first time, so it was fun and interesting no matter what.

To the powder,



we added some boiling water and created this crazy mash



Then Daiku and I both attacked it, pounding with wooden spoons until it resembled a smooth dough. Now, we know that fufu is meant to be served in ball shapes for everyone at the table to tear little pieces off. But how to make this hot, sticky dough into a ball? According to the Internet, you just shake it and it forms itself into a ball. Would this work?...

Here is Daiku shaking the pan vigorously





Would you believe it? It really did turn into a neat little ball!

We had so much fun dipping pieces of fufu into the stew and eating with our hands. The fufu had a very mild flavor- nothing too exciting, but the excitement was in trying something new!





We both really liked the stew. It was thick and hearty, and the peanut butter didn't taste like peanut butter but instead added a rich savory flavor. You all should try it!

Here is a shot of Bijou the cat trying to sneak her way closer to the food- we see you!



I have always dreamed of visiting West Africa, especially Senegal. Hopefully someday I'll blog about eating authentic fufu on a voyage!


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20 comments:

Emmy said...

Oh wow, I've never ever heard of fufu. What a neat and colorful box too. The Groundnut Stew looks fabulous. YUM! I'm going to have to put this on the "to-make" list for next week.

That's really neat that the fufu actually formed itself into a ball after vigorous pan shaking. You know you always hear how something is suppose to do this or that and then at home, it never does.

Ha ha, that's a hilarious shot of Bijou. It reminds me of the pic I took of Rob peering over the counter looking at Hawaiian "Chicken". Great post and thanks for the education on fufu :)

Candi said...

Hi Bazooo! ;) You've definitely made quite an amazing dinner here!! Good for you for trying a new food and making up a new recipe!

Fufu is something I've never heard of. It looks really good with the stew though and fun to eat. The picture of the pan shaking make me laugh! And WOW! It really turned into a dough ball! Nice job!

Thanks for posting that recipe! It really looks delicious and I will definitely try it soon! I want to look around for fufu now too!

Bijou!! LOL!! So adorable! He wanted to play with the fufu!

Nikki said...

This recipe sounds fantabulous! The fufu was too much, I keep laughing at the name like a little kid. It looks really interesting.

Bijou is adorable, BTW. :)

Eat Peace Please said...

I kept thinking of "little bunny Fufu" the whole time (if you know that song)...

That looks interesting, but like you, I'd go for the "real" thing. Your stew looks really good too.

Gaia said...

Wow, never even heard of fufu before... the name alone is interesting LOL

I love Bijou's photograph ! What a look ! LOL

aTxVegn said...

There used to be a commercial that said "as much fun to make as it is to eat!" This is also "as much fun to say." The stew looks yummy. Fufu Stew for Bazu!

bazu said...

Yah, fufu is fun to say, I have to agree with all of you! I kept thinking of the pupu platter from a Chinese restaurant! =) Fufu, pupu, bazu likes 'em all...

Midwest Vegan said...

Cool post - especially liked the action photo! I wish we had an African store here.

Bijou looks precious!

Theresa said...

I live with a guy from Uganda, which is obviously not West Africa, but your groundnut stew sounds like most of the things that he cooks! A lot of potatoes, peanut butter, and tomato combinations.

And that cat picture is adorable!

springsandwells said...

Right on Bazu!
This is such a fun post!! I just ot back from my trip, and I decided that the thing I'll miss most is poking around in all those crazy grocery stores. Your stew looks absolutely delish. wow! Also, can I be an official member of your cat's fan club? That is such a cute picture!
:)amey

ps. thanks for all the comments on my blog while I was travelling!!

Urban Vegan said...

Fufu.
Bazu.
Daiku.
Bijou.

I see a definite pattern here ;)

I've seen Fufu in a grovery store in West Philly and was tempted to buy it just b/c i liked the name. Now I have 2 reasons. Thanks for the recipe.

Vicki said...

i'm with you, bazu, i love to try something new, and especially if it's fufu! i'd even wear a tutu and recite haiku. (can we put this to music?!)

Paulie said...

Fufu is the best! There are loads of Afro Caribbean food shops round my 'hood, so I'll be popping down to find some tomorrow!

Oh and those pancakes look divine!

P :)

KleoPatra said...

Whatta post! I'm exhausted at all the things you are doing, fufu or no fufu. Bazu, you are so busy, and the cat is unbelievably adorable!

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