It Takes Two to Fufu

Fufu pounding

Food is an important part of culture. How and what people eat is part of everyday life. Food in Ghana is incredibly important.

I want to highlight two completely different things: fufu and kubee toffee. One is soft, sticky, and white. The other is hard, sticky, and dark brown. Just like obininis and obronis. Completely not intentional, but nice nonetheless.

Fufu can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is served with light soup and chicken, beef, goat, fish, or bush meat. You eat the soup and fufu with your hands. NO SPOONS ALLOWED. Pounding fufu is a real challenge. Fufu is made from either cassava and unripe plantains or cassava and yams.

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Fufu is pounded using a giant stick – see above. To me they look like skinny elephant legs. You start by steaming the cassava and yams/plantains with some garden eggs (eggplant babies) and other weird green berries. Once the starches are nice and supple you pound the hell out of them. One person pounds the fufu, while the other constantly turns the mixture – the driver. The driver’s hand is in the pestle the whole time. With the rhythmic pounding. Scary? YES.

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Fufu is eaten with your hands in a group. You dig into the pot of boiling stew, grab some fufu, and pray that your hands recover in two years. Slurping is allowed.

Fufu is enjoyed by almost all Ghanaians – Northerners and Southerners. It is an acquired taste – it took me at least 8 months to even really try fufu. The texture is unique and it takes time to adjust to it. Once you do though, you realize that fufu is an incredible meal – perfect for fattening you up!

Dear Bankou – you are still my favorite and I love you. Kenkey, love you too, don’t worry. TZ – eff off you nasty.

So let’s move on to kubee. Which is actually written with a different E, but I can’t find the symbol. It is pronounced like coup bay. Kubee by itself means coconut, add on toffee and you have a delicious treat. This hard candy is made somehow with some ingredients and includes copious amounts of sugar and coconut. It might have honey in it. I honestly have no idea what’s in it other than addictive properties.

This sweet treat is enjoyed by Ghanaians young and old, it is one of the only local “desserts.” It comes wrapped in a plastic bag of sorts and kinda looks like a dark Vienna sausage. But it tastes oh so delectable. It has a rich taste that reminds me of burnt caramel. Hell, it probably is. They are pretty hard to find though. You have to know someone who sells them, you can’t just find them on the street – at least not in my area. They are like a hidden secret. Only foreigners who are truly integrated can discover the delights of the kubee toffee.

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3 thoughts on “It Takes Two to Fufu

    • Oh dear! That’s quite a trade. I’ll have to find a way to mail some without it melting. If I can find some wax paper that might work. I’ll be sure to figure out a way!

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