Plant It Forward


Fufu (Foo-foo, Foufou, Foutou, fu fu) is to Western and Central Africa cooking what mashed potatoes are to traditional European-American cooking. There are Fufu-like staples all over Sub-Saharan Africa: i.e., Eastern Africa’s Ugali and Southern Africa’s Sadza (which are usually made from ground corn (maize), though West Africans use maize to make Banku and Kenkey, and sometimes use maize to make Fufu). Fufu is a starchy accompaniment for stews or other dishes with sauce. To eat fufu: use your right hand to tear off a bite-sized piece of the fufu, shape it into a ball, make an indentation in it, and use it to scoop up the soup or stew or sauce, or whatever you’re eating. In Western Africa, Fufu is usually made from yams, sometimes combined with plantains. In Central Africa, Fufu is often made from cassava tubers, like Baton de Manioc. Other fufu-like foods, Liberia’s dumboy for example, are made from cassava flour. Fufu can also be made from semolina, rice, or even instant potato flakes or Bisquick. All over Africa, making fufu involves boiling, pounding, and vigorous stirring until the fufu is thick and smooth

Fish & Greens

* one fish, filleted into serving size pieces

* one-third cup palm oil (or peanut oil or any cooking oil)

* three cloves garlic, chopped

* one onion, chopped

* one cup water

* one pound spinach leaves, cleaned (or collards, kale, or similar, cleaned, chopped, and blanched)

* canned tomatoes

* one tablespoon salt

* cayenne pepper, red pepper, or African Hot Sauce (to taste)

What you do

* In deep pan, fry the fish in the oil. Add the garlic and onion. Reduce heat and simmer until onions are clear. Add water. Simmer 15 minutes.

* Add tomatoes and spinach. (If other greens are used they should be blanched ahead of time.) Season to taste. Simmer until all is done. Serve with Baton de Manioc (also called Chikwangue), Fufu, or Rice.

Spicy African Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

Spicy African Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew


  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (3/4 CSA bag)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or 2 cups water
  • 1 (16 ounce) can plum tomatoes, undrained, chopped (you can purchase stewed tomatoes in glass bottles at Whole Foods Market (WFM))
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (you can purchase frozen chickpeas at WFM)
  • 1 lb okra, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup couscous


  1. Cook couscous according to package directions. Place garlic and salt into bowl of food processor and blend until garlic is finely chopped. Add paprika, cumin seeds, black pepper, ginger, and allspice. Process 15 seconds.
  2. While processor is running, pour olive oil through cover opening until mixture forms paste. In a large saucepan, combine the completed spice paste, sweet potatoes, broth or water, tomatoes with juice, chickpeas, and okra.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer 10 minutes more or until vegetables are tender. Serve stew with couscous and hot pepper sauce.