10 Things to Try in Addition to Fufu

Last year TikTok exploded with the Fufu challenge. It was interesting to see how eager people were to try something new from another culture. Being from Ghana, and being very familiar with Fufu, I noticed a couple of interesting things about the challenge. The first being that while Ghanaians refer to only the combination of cassava, yam, and plantain as Fufu and have other “given names” for all other forms of swallows, Fufu has come to be a general term used for most swallows in Africa and beyond.

The second thing I noticed was the fact that only a few variations of swallows or Fufu were featured in most of the videos. Eba and Pounded Yam from Nigeria, and Fufu, which is indigenous to the people of Cameroon, Congo, Ghana, and Togo were the most featured variations.

I felt like people were missing out when it came to the Fufu options to try. Yes, most of them do look very similar. But no, they definitely have very unique flavors. There is a whole list of other equally amazing types of Fufu on the continent that are a must try!

Below is a list of 10 types of Fufu or swallows from Africa that weren’t featured in the challenge but should be on your 2022 to try list.

1. Ugali

Ugali is a rich and dense porridge-like dish prepared from white maize meal or maize flour. It is an important part of the East African diet. It’s usually served with a vegetable and/or meat stew.

2. Kenkey

Kenkey is a traditional Ghanaian meal prepared from fermented white corn that is widely enjoyed by Ga people from the southern part of the country. While Kenkey can be enjoyed with soups and sauces, it is traditionally served with a fresh pepper sauce and fried fish. Left over Kenkey is often mashed and used for Iced Kenkey – a great snack for a sunny day.

Photo by ,@menscookgh

3. Sadza

Sadza is considered to be very similar to Ugali. Sadza a stiff grain porridge or paste that is Zimbabwe’s main carbohydrate source. Most Sadza is now made of extremely finely ground maize. Before maize became a staple in Africa, the dish was composed of different grains, mostly millet varieties.

4. Nshima

Nshima is the Zambian name given to a basic cornmeal that has been cooked into a pliable, paste-like porridge. The dish is made from flour that is the result of husking and grinding dried maize. It is considered a staple food in the region and is eaten with nearly every meal.

5. Posho

Posho is a semi-hard cornmeal porridge that is the traditional basic dish in Uganda, and it is served as an accompaniment to meat, fish, or vegetable stews.

6. Pap

Pap is one of the most versatile forms of swallows or Fufu in Africa. It is a kind of porridge made from maize meal and can be cooked to be runny, soft, or stiff. Any time of the day is a great time to enjoy pap – breakfast, lunch or supper. It is a staple in many homes in South Africa mainly thanks to its cost and versatility. Pap can be enjoyed with sugar and milk for breakfast, or meat and vegetables for lunch and supper. It can even be watered down to make a tasty drink called Mageu. There are also many intricate ways to prepare pap, depending on the tribe, for example, Xhosa, Venda, Zulu or Sepedi.

7. Omo-Tuo (Rice balls)

Omo tuo is a Ghanaian rice side dish with Hausa origins that is popular throughout the country. It’s created by cooking glutinous rice until it’s very mushy, then crushing or rolling it into sticky balls. Some people refer to it as “rice fufu” or “rice balls.” It’s usually served with groundnut (peanut) soup, but it’s also good with palm nut soup. It’s served with a baobab leaf and dried okra soup called miyan kuka in Nigeria’s northern Hausa-Fulani areas.

8. Amala

Amala is indigenous to Nigeria and it is mostly made with yam flour. Some people use cassava flour as well to get the same feel of Amala. The yam or cassava is peeled and dried, after which it is blended to produce Amala flour. The flour is combined with hot water and then cooked to form the desired thick paste-like Amala. Even though soups like Egusi and Ogbono can be enjoyed with Amala, Ewedu is the soup natives to the Yoruba part of Nigeria often served with Amala.

Photo by ,@strictlyamala

9. Tuo Zaafi

Tuo zaafi is a Northern Ghanaian meal produced by combining maize or millet flour with water and boiling it. Tuo means stirred in Hausa, while zaafi indicates heated in Hausa.The final dish of Tuo Zaafi consist of 3 seperate parts- the meat stew, the ayoyo sauce and the Tuo Zaafi itself.

10. Banku/Akple

This is the product of fermented corn and cassava dough mixed proportionally and cooked in hot water into a smooth whitish consistent paste. Depending on the consistency or thickness of the resulting product, it can be served with soup, stew or fresh a pepper sauce with fried fish.

The African continent is the heart of many cuisines and rich in flavors. While all of these flavors can not be experienced in any one challenge, the Fufu challenge did serve as a launch pad to introduce aspects of African dishes to the world. The next time you go to an African restaurant, try something new- you might just start a new trend! I’d recommend Pap – it definitely hits the spot with almost any sauce or soup.

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