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Passport & Plate - Yam Fufu & Fish Soup

Ghana | Wednesday, 25 February 2015 | 5 photos

For the Fresh Fish Soup:

1 1/2 pounds fresh fish

2 medium size onions (plus a quarter for flavoring fish)

6 - 8 medium size tomatoes

3 large garden eggs

1/2 cup cooking oil

1 handful pepper (black)

3 cloves garlic

Black pepper


For the Yam Fufu:

2 lb yams

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp butter


How to prepare this recipe
I. Fish Soup:

A. Preparation:

1. Scale and cut the fish into the desired size and shape (can be requested of the fishmonger).

2. Wash and drain the fish.

3. Mash the garlic, onions and peppers until you have a paste; add a pinch of black pepper and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to the paste, mixing it in with the fish.

B. Cooking:

1.Heat the oil in a frying pan, and as it heats, put the flour in a plate, lightly coating the fish.

2. When the oil is hot enough, gently place the fish in it. Fry the fish until golden brown, draining it with a paper towel to remove any excess.

3. As the fish fries, boil the the onions, tomatoes, garden eggs and pepper with about a liter of water in a covered pot and boil for about 10 minutes.

4. Scoop out the tomatoes, pepper, and onion, and blend them together. Add the paste back into the soup, and cover and boil the mixture again for 5 minutes before adding the fish. Add salt to taste, and reduce the heat until the soup is boiling gently.

***Proceed to complement with the Yam Fufu

II. Yam Fufu:

1. Place the entirety of the yams into cold, unsalted water, bring to a full boil, and cook for 25 -30 minutes, or until soft

2. Remove the yams, cook, and peel them. Mash with the other ingredients.

3. Place in a food processor, and run briefly to remove lumps. Do not purée the mixture! (If a processor is not available, go directly to step 4.)

4. Place the fufu in a bowl, and beat it with a wooden spoon or (as was traditionally done) in a mortar with a pestle

5. Whisk the mixture until smooth; it should look sticky and be thick in consistency

6. If desired, shape the fufu into balls with your hands and serve warm


The story behind this recipe
I was in Spain when I lost my wallet. On the streets of Cadiz, it seamlessly disappeared. As if things could get any worse, my only emergency debit card was swallowed hours later by an ATM. Enter panic mode. It was too late at night to have someone from the bank get the machine to give me back the debit card it had just eaten like a delicious tapa. The very next day I was embarking for Ghana, and I had nothing but $50 in cash in my cabin. Because I didn’t have any plans to stay somewhere in Ghana, I didn’t know where I was going to end up, so there was no way to have any money wired to me. Amid my personal madness, I rationalized that the $50 would be enough for me to at least have two meals a day for the five days I would be there. “It’ll all be fine. I won’t starve,” I told myself. I ended up being so much more than fine. I had arranged to Couchsurf with a family in Ghana that I only knew through email; there was no WiFi on the ship, so I wasn’t even able to download their picture from their emails. The first time I met them was at port, shortly after we docked. They embraced me into such warmth that I immediately felt at home. For months, I hadn’t really been part of a ‘home’—sure, the ship was my home, and I had been in numerous houses on my travels, but there’s nothing like going to a solid foundation every day and seeing familiar, inviting faces. That night, on the floor of their living room, as I devoured the fufu that I had helped to prepare with them, it was like my own personal Thanksgiving.

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