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FUFU (West Africa)
Yam Paste Balls
makes about ten 1 1/2-inch balls

1 1/2 pounds yam
2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt

With a sharp knife, slice the yam crosswise into 1/2- inch-thick
rounds and then peel each slice, cutting 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep into
the flesh to remove all the skin. As you peel the yam, drop the
slices into a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration. Combine
the yam, water and salt in a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan and bring
to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan
tightly, and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the yam is tender
enough to be mashed with a fork. Drain the yam slices in a large
sieve or colander. Then puree them through a food mill set over
a large, heavy earthenware or metal bowl. Using an up-and-down
motion, pound the yam vigorously with a large pestle or the smooth
side of a wooden kitchen mallet. After four or five strokes, dip
the pestle or mallet into cold water to keep the yam moist as you
pound and to prevent it from sticking to the pestle. Repeat for
about 10 minutes, or until the yam forms a compact but slightly
sticky paste. To shape the fufu into balls, fill a mixing bowl
with cold water and set it beside a large, flat plate. Sprinkle
a little water on the plate and moisten your hands lightly. Lift
up about 1/4 cup of yam paste and roll it between your palms and
across the plate until it is a smooth, firm ball and its surface
appears shiny and somewhat translucent. (Moisten your hands and
the plate again from time to time if necessary.)

Arrange the yam fufu balls attractively on a platter and serve at
once, or cover them tightly with foil or plastic wrap and set them
aside at room temperature for up to 2 hours before serving. In
West Africa fufu is also made from cassava, cocoyam or plantain
and is a standard accompaniment to spicy soups, stews and sauces
such as chicken-groundnut stew or mokoto.

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