1/2 pounds fresh fish
1 tuber of Yam
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 medium size onions (plus a quarter for spicing fish)
6 - 8 medium size tomatoes
3 large garden eggs
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 handful pepper (kpakpo shito)
3 cloves garlic
1.Scale and cut the fish into the sizes you want. This could be done for you by the fishmonger depending on where you buy it. Wash and drain the fish, then mash or blend the garlic, onions and 5 peppers till you have a paste. Add a pinch of black pepper and about half a teaspoon of salt to the paste and mix in the fish gently so it doesn't fall apart.
2. After about 10 minutes heat the oil in a frying pan. As the oil heats, put the flour in a plate and lightly coat the fish. When the oil is hot enough, gently place the fish in it.
3. Fry the fish till it turns golden brown. Drain on paper towels to soak up any excess oil.
4. As the fish fries, place the onions, tomatoes, garden eggs and pepper in a pot and add 1 litre of water, cover and boil. Boil them for about 10 minutes. The tomatoes cook first, then the peppers, garden eggs and last, the onions. If overcooked, the tomatoes will break up, releasing their seeds into the soup, which is not what you want.
5. Use a ladle to scoop out the tomatoes and pepper and blend them. Use a seive to strain the puree back into the pot. You should be left with skin and seeds in the seive. Next, check if the garden eggs are cooked. You want them soggy, so when the skin starts to look transparent and like it is seperating from the flesh, it is cooked.
6. Remove the garden eggs from the pot and put them in cold water. Peel off the skin and remove the seeds. Blend into a fine paste. Add this also to the boiling pot. When the onions are soft enough to run a fork through, break them into chunks and blend. The garden egg and onion puree dont need to be strained, this gives the soup its thickness. Keep the pot boiling throughout.
7. Cover and boil for 5 minutes, then add the fish. Add salt and reduce heat till the soup is boiling gently.
8. Now, peel the Yam tube and cut it into fist sized pieces. Wash thouroughly to get all the sand off. Place on a pot, add enough water to cover the Yam and boil. Boil until a fork goes through easily and the yamm is fluffy. Drain off the water but keep covered to retain the heat.
9. Wash the fufu Mortar and pestle with warm water. Don't use soap just before using since wood absorbs the soap and transfers it to the food. Get a bowl with clean water and a low kitchen stool and with very clean hands, you are set.
10. Place the hot pieces of Yam into the Mortar, one at a time and pound theminto a fluffy powdery mass before adding the next piece. When half the pieces have been added, start to turn the yam which should be getting sticky by now, with your right hand (the left hand should never touch food) . Alternate you hand movements with the pestle hits, to form some sort of tick-tock rhythm. Do this carefully to avoid a visit to the emergency room.
11. Depending on the quantity you are preparing, divide the yam into 2 or 3 batches, so you don't overload the mortar.
12. When the yam mass is sticky enought o be shaped into a ball, it is ready, although, some people like their's really soft in which case you would keep pounding till the desired softness. (the more/harder you pound, the softer it gets).
13. Shape it into a neat ball or oval, place in a soup dish and serve with hot soup.
14. This dish is best enjoyed when eaten with your fingers but a spoon will work just as well.It is a must-try dish for those that don't know it, and I'm sure will bring fond memories to those that do.