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I know it’s a really cute and popular name for a really cute doggie, BUT this fufu food, not the dog, is a very popular dish in Africa and Cuba –  the main ingredient is plantains.

So, let’s talk plainly about plantains. I love plantains – this vegetable/fruit is not very common in my household. Whenever I get the chance to have it in a restaurant or someone’s home, I jump on it.

Like a well-worn traveler, the plantain’s history is impressive, starting from the Asian merchants to the African continent and on to the  Franciscan monk who came bearing plantain gifts to the Caribbean. The plantain now has made its footprint in American households. Uganda and Columbia are the top two growers and shippers of this thing resembling a banana. Plantains are generally used for cooking. Determining how to use the veggie-fruit, depends on the stage of the ripening process of the plantain. The green plantains cooking texture is more like a potato – you can use them in stews, paella, or as a fried chip. Use the darker plantains and the blacker ones like a dessert.

tostones

Different ripening stages

I made a very common Cuban recipe called tostones (twice fried plantains) this past week. I used the green/yellow plantain, sliced them into about 1 1/2 inch long pieces, fried them in oil, took them out, smashed them down to half their size and refried them once more and added a bit of salt and WOW, they were outstanding. Tostones are similar to having chips or fries and are a great complement to any burger meal.

Fufu- the food, not the dog, is commonly made by boiling the medium ripe plantain, mashing them (sort of like mashed potatoes) and adding a very popular common mixture called sofrito -garlic, onions, green peppers, cumin, oregano and tomatoes- (this sofrito combination goes in everything cuban and is super tasty), add chicken stock to it for moistness. Here is a recipe I particularly like and uses fewer ingredients. It is easy too. http://cuban-christmas.com/fufu.html

I hope you find your own inspiration to cook something fun and different this weekend. If not, here is a quote I leave you. “Cooking Rule… If at first you don’t succeed, order pizza.” Anonymous

¡Vamos! Let’s go.

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