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Fufu (variants of the name include foofoo, foufou, fufuo) is a staple food of many countries in Africa and the Caribbean. It is often made with a flour made from the cassava plant – or alternatively another flour, such as semolina or maize flour. It can also be made by boiling starchy food crops like cassava, yams or cooking plantains and then pounding them into a dough-like consistency. Fufu is eaten with the fingers, and a small ball of it can be dipped into an accompanying soup or sauce. Foods made in this manner are known by different names in different places. However, fufu stands out, especially in Ghana and in West Africa in general. Among Hausa communities in Northern Nigeria, it is known as sakora, among the Dagombas of Northern Ghana as sakoro, and as couscous (couscous de Cameroun) in the French-speaking regions of Cameroon (not to be confused with the North African dish couscous). Cassava was introduced to Africa from Brazil by Portuguese traders in the 16th century. In Ghana, before cassava was introduced, fufu was made with yam. In some situations, it is made with plantain or cocoyam. In Nigeria and Cameroon, fufu is white and sticky (if plantain is not mixed with the cassava when pounding). The traditional method of eating fufu is to pinch some of the fufu off in one’s right hand fingers and form it into an easily ingested round ball. The ball is then dipped in soup and swallowed whole. A similar staple in the African Great Lakes region is ugali. It is usually made from maize flour (masa), and is also eaten in Southern Africa. The name ugali is used to refer to the dish in Kenya and Tanzania. Closely related staples are called nshima in Zambia, nsima in Malawi, sadza in Zimbabwe, pap in South Africa, posho in Uganda, luku, fufu, nshima, moteke, semoule, ugali and bugari in Republic of the Congo and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and phaletshe in Botswana. Fufu, as well as other starchy food, is eaten in a great number of African countries—especially by the Asante, the Akyem, the Bono and the Fante peoples of the Akan ethnic group of Ghana. It features in Guinean cuisine as well as Nigerian cuisine. In Nigeria, fufu is often eaten with egusi soup.
The mortar is a bowl, typically made of hard wood, ceramic or stone. The pestle is a heavy club-shaped object, the end of which is used for crushing and grinding. The substance to be ground is placed in the mortar and ground, crushed or mixed with the pestle. Mortars and pestles have been used in cooking up to the present day; they are frequently also associated with the profession of pharmacy due to their historical use in preparing medicines. They can also be used in masonry and in other types of construction. The English word mortar derives from classical Latin mortarium, meaning, among several other usages, “receptacle for pounding” and “product of grinding or pounding”. The classical Latin pistillum, meaning “pounder”, led to English pestle.