Fufu. Doesn’t it sound fun and unique? Well, judge a food by its name because this best plant-based food is fun and unique! And by fun, I mean easy to make, using plantain fufu flour; Even that is fun to say… plantain fufu flour. But seriously, we bring to you today a fufu and soup recipe. We like to add fufu as one of the African pepper soup ingredients because it makes it more filling and delicious. But you don’t only have to use it in the West African pepper soup; you can also have it in various dishes. Liberian palm butter soup, for example. Read further, and find out more.
Pepper soup equals flavor
This Liberian pepper soup and fufu satisfy what you know fufu and soup to be if you’ve tasted it before. In this recipe, you will taste nuttiness from the benneh seeds (aka sesame seeds). The richness added by okra, chilies, onion, and garlic will make you appreciate this plant-based economical pepper soup and fufu. People think they will lose “flavor” if there is no meat or fish in their pot when in reality, the plant seasoning is what adds nostalgia.
In the past, I did not like fufu and pepper soup because my breath smelled fishy or there was a lingering odor from the meat soup. Chewing gum couldn’t get rid of the smell, so I avoided pepper soup and fufu. Now that it is plant-protein, you’ll need to wrestle the pepper soup and fufu bowl from me.
Best plant-based African food
You might wonder why we regard fufu as one of the best plant-based foods. Well, honestly, it is one of many that we aim to bring to you. There are so many West African food recipes that are just amazing. And, like the West African pepper soup, we focus on plant-based food high in protein because meat isn’t the only protein provider.
Fufu is one of the best because of its versatility and simplicity. Most African countries like Nigeria, Liberia, and Ghana enjoy it. And in a way, they eat like a Southern African would eat sadza or pap. Locals prepare it the same way too. Instead of mealie-meal, it uses plantain fufu flour; the only other ingredient you need is water. That’s almost half of what you need to know about making fufu with flour. Did you think I was joking when I called it easy?
West African pepper soup ingredients
In this fufu and soup recipe, the soup we are using as an example is the West African pepper soup. West African food recipes usually have a fiery kick to them, and this is because of the spices used. Fufu may only need two ingredients, but these best plant-based foods are anything but bland.
When we created the Maryland pepper soup, you will find it has vital vitamins. Vitamins such as B, C, and K. It is an excellent soup for pesky flues and colds and those wanting a modern African pepper soup. Fufu helps make the soup more filling, but add some seitan to bring in the protein.
Seitan is a popular meat substitute for those healthy African food recipes. And it is easy to make at home, in different flavors too! For example, we used seaweed-flavored seitan in the fufu and soup recipe above. You can buy it or make it. We used Hijiki seaweed. High in fiber and good for digestion and lowering cholesterol levels. You can also use it in other recipes like this Ivorian Attieke.
If you would like to learn how to make basic (but tasty) seitan from scratch, you can follow the instructions here.
But back to spices, African pepper soup ingredients are not complete without combining spices like habanero and sesame seeds( benneh seeds, as Liberians call it). Click here for more Liberian recipes. These spices make these West African food recipes the best plant-based foods they are.
To dive deeper into the importance of spices in African food, we will take you on a virtual trip to Benin. One popular spice in Benin is garlic or ‘Ayoo’ in Fon. Garlic has a strong smell and taste and helps boost your immune system.
Another spice is chili pepper, used in this pepper soup recipe. It is well known that Africans love spicy food, which begs the question, is spice addictive? We have your answer in our article on evaluating spices in Benin if you are wondering. It will give you better insight into the spices as well.
So fufu benefits us by making us more fu-full, get it? You can add it to different soups and stews. It is one of the best plant-based foods, and we recommend you try this recipe. To the chefs exploring African cuisine and those who need a little reminder of home, here is our recipe for making pepper soup and fufu with plantain fufu flour.
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- 3 dried chillies
- 1 garlic
- Quarter shallot chunks
- Shiitake mushrooms
- 4 cups of water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Plantain Fufu flour (1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons of water
- Toasted ground sesame seeds
- Mashed seasoned okra
- Fried Tofu
- Seitan - seaweed protein
- Strong arms 🙂
Instructions for the Pepper soup:
- In three separate dishes place aside your Fried Tofu, Shiitake Mushrooms and Seitan-seaweed protein.
- Place a large pot on the stove and heat 2 tablespoons of Olive oil on low heat.
- Add 3 dried chillies, 1 garlic and Quarter Shallot Chunks to the pot.
- Add in the Fried Tofu and Shiitake mushrooms, gently stir.
- Next, add 4 cups of water.
- Then, add ½ a teaspoon of salt and a ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper.
- Add in the seaweed Seitan.
- Taste for salt and add as needed.
- Place the lid over the pot, ensure not to cover completely and leave to boil on low to medium heat for 20 minutes.
Instructions for the Fufu:
- Measure the desired amount of plantain fufu flour in a nonstick pan; nonstick pan helps with easier cleaning.
- Gradually add water to the plantain fufu flour, stir flour with a whisk while adding water. I used whisk because it blends quicker but you can use any cooking utensil that makes sense to you. Start with little water. For example if you use 1/4 cup of fufu flour you want to start with 1/3 cup of water. Over watering your fufu will make it like porridge.
- Stir the fufu flour and water together until the consistency looks like that of gravy.
- In a non-stick pan, cook the fufu flour on low heat. As the pot heats, the dough will begin to form. Continue stirring your fufu with a strong spoon that will not break, wooden/metal spoon is best. Stir fufu by folding the dough into itself. You will know the fufu is cooking when the raw flour color changes from white to beige (sorry hard to describe).
- After 2-3mins of cooking, Add 2 tablespoons of water to the fufu dough. Small water helps to loosen fufu dough from the pan. Continue stirring the fufu by folding the dough into itself. You need strong arms. Total cook time can take 5 mins on low - medium heat. If you use large quantity of fufu (1 cup of fufu flour), the cooking time increases.
- After it is done, now we are ready to plate this fufu and soup recipe. To form the dough into a ball, dip the cook spoon in cold water to help mold the fufu. As you dip the cook spoon into cold water, use the wet cook spoon to fold the dough into itself. If the spoon is not wet, the fufu dough will stick to spoon. Traditionally, our mothers use their hands to mold the hot fufu. Don't try this, it will burn you! Also, do not wait for fufu to get cold, mold it when it is hot.
- Once the fufu is molded, place it in a deep soup bowl.
- Serve fufu with toasted ground sesame seeds, mashed with seasoned okra.
- Add some pepper soup to the bowl with the fufu and serve this west African pepper soup while hot!
To all my plantbased food lovers, this west african soup recipe will have you rushing back for more, so do give it a try.
Be sure to snap pictures while you cook your best plantbased food and share them with us on our social media @Humveg.