Fufu is a ubiquitous and much-beloved staple through most of West Africa, whether topped with a fiery Palava sauce (or Shoko) or served as the bland accompaniment to a main dish. Foofoo is traditionally made with cassava (aka yucca and/or manioc), but it can be prepared as well with everything from rice, yams, and plantains to instant mashed potatoes! It is also somewhat harder to make than it would seem. Ellen Wilson quotes a traditional proverb that goes, “If a woman were like foofoo, a man could get to know her before he married her.” What this has to do with foofoo (or women) is anyone’s guess. In any case, this version of yam foofoo — traditionally made by pounding and beating the yams in a mortar with a wooden spoon — has been adapted for a food processor.
2 lb yams 1/4 tsp black pepper 1/4 tsp salt 1 tsp butter
1. Place the yams in cold, unsalted water, bring to a full boil, and cook 25 minutes, or until soft.
2. Remove the yams, cook, and peel. Mash with the other ingredients.
3. Place in a food processor, and run briefly to remove lumps. DO NOT PUREE! (If a processor is not available, go directly to step 4.)
4. Remove foofoo to a bowl, and beat with a wooden spoon or wire whisk until smooth. The foofoo should have a sticky, slightly resilient consistency.
5. Shape the foofoo into balls with your hands, and serve warm.