Sea Monkey and Fufu

While reading another blog by a nurse whose post was about kids on the ward, she goes on to explain about a little boy, Alfred, shared his Fufu and Sea Monkey with her...(it *Sea Monkey* was not the focus of the blog, the kids were).  But I (being the food person I am) zeroed in on the Sea Monkey.

*Sea Monkey* according to my Monrovia friends is a large fish (closely related to tuna or dolphin/or may even be tuna or dolphin - this is speculative) That is very dark in color and bloody. 

And just to confirm it I asked our ward cook Ophelia who said, and I quote:  "A very dark meat, from a big dolphin...".

I thought it would be interesting to some of you out there because in all reality you have probably already ate Sea Monkey and never knew it!

Oh!  You say what about Fufu?  I often forget about all these things as I have had a couple of 'right hand man' in the kitchen usually from West Africa since I started with Mercy Ships in 2001 on the Caribbean Mercy...Ok, let me delve into a small lecture on that one.

Fufu, or fu fu, is a staple food of West and Central Africa. It is a thick paste or porridge usually made by boiling starchy root vegetables in water and pounding with a large mortar and pestle until the desired consistency is reached. [this is basically true and was derived from wikipedia let me deviate to what I personally have found is true in my experience]

In Western Africa, Fufu is usually made from cassava not yams (or at least parts I know something about, like Liberia, Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone...although the one mixed with plantain seems to be a one of choice among my friends too) sometimes combined with cocoyam, plantains, or maize. In a later post we will get into Banku and Kenkey which are usually fermented before cooking (these are made from the corn maize).  The Liberian Dumboy is made from cassava flour. 

Often, the dish is still made by traditional methods: pounding and beating the base substance in a mortar with a wooden spoon. Places where poverty is not an issue, or where modern appliances are readily available, a food processor may also be used.  Although be ready for scorn because as you may find out, purist do not believe in real Fufu love made in the processor.  But if you make it without the processor It will quickly where your arm out making it for more than 4 people!

In Western and Central Africa, the more common method is to serve a mound of Fufu along with a sauce made from okra, fish, tomato, etc...(which we, Reuben & I renamed it Sanka Sauce years ago ~ more about that in another post) because the sauce has variations and can go by so many names. You pinch off a small ball of Fufu and make an indentation with the thumb. This "bowl" indentation is then filled with sauce, and the ball is eaten. In Ghana and Nigeria, the ball is often not chewed but swallowed whole. In fact, among the older generation, chewing Fufu is frowned upon/not accepted.

So for now ~ "to be continued..." as we cover the upcoming topics of Banku, Kenkey, & Sanka Sauce.

* I am not an authority by any means on West African food or cooking, these are my personal views and experiences as they have happened to me and many of my friends who are from these regions of the world*