African Fufu Recipe

Yam fufu recipe

The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
519 Calories
27g Fat
0g Carbs
65g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 519
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 10g 52%
Cholesterol 202mg 67%
Sodium 272mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 65g
Calcium 36mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Fufu is an essential food in most of West Africa, and it followed West African slaves when they came to the Caribbean. It can be made with any of the starchy ground provisions like plantains, cassava, or malanga, but this recipe is a bit different—it calls for true yams

The traditional method is to boil the yams, then pound them in a wooden mortar until they're smooth and sticky like dough. They can be served with stew or soup. It's customary to eat fufu with clean hands—this is a finger food in the truest sense of the term. Pull off a pinch of dough about the size of a quarter. Roll it into a ball in your hand, then make an indentation in the ball with your thumb. Scoop up the stew and enjoy.

Think of fufu as a version of an American dumpling. I've modernized this recipe by using a food processor, which cuts down on the amount of work involved. 

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds yams
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for yam fufu
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Fill a pot halfway with cold water. 

    Fill a pot
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Peel the yams, being very careful with the knife or peeler, as yams can be slippery.

    Cut yam
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Cut the peeled yams into chunks. Place the chunks in the water in the pot. 

    Cut peeled yam
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Bring the water and the yams to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil until the yams are soft - about 25 minutes. 

    Bring yams to boil
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Remove the yams and reserve about a cup of the water. Allow the yams to cool.

    Remove yams
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. Place the cooled yams in a large bowl along with the salt, pepper, and olive oil.

    Place yams in bowl
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  8. Mash the ingredients using a potato masher. Don't worry if the mixture doesn't look like dough just yet. 

    Mash ingredients
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  9. Place the fufu mixture in a food processor or blender. Pulse briefly to remove any lumps. Do not puree. Use a low speed/setting. 

    Food processor
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska 
  10. Place the yam mixture back in the bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until it becomes smooth. The mixture should become sticky and slightly elastic. It's OK to use your hands to get it to this point.

    Beat
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  11. Shape the fufu into balls of equal size.

    Put in bowl
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  12. Serve with your favorite Caribbean soup or stew and enjoy!

    Yam fufu bowl
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

Tip

  • You can use butter or margarine instead of the olive oil in a pinch, but olive oil is best.