How to make fufu with unripe plantain

Plantain Fufu: How to Make Swallow with Fresh Unripe Plantain

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Growing up, I got to know plantain as the meal for diabetics as well as aged people. In the last days of my grandpa which happened to be the only period that I spent with him, I presumed that fresh unripe plantain was his favourite food because of how often he ate it. He ate boiled plantain, amala made from plantain flour, plantain fufu and pounded plantain.

Although he ate plantain almost every day, I was never interested in joining him because unripe plantain is just not sweetest food available and why would I choose it when I had options of rice? or why would I choose unripe plantain fufu when there was always pounded yam? Pounded yam is my favourite food.

Years later, after the death of my grandpa, I learnt about the nutritional benefits of plantain and it is now a highly rated food for me. In fact, unripe plantain fufu otherwise called unripe plantain swallow makes a good substitute for semo. If you were thinking I would write, “substitute for pounded yam”, I’m sorry, YOU WERE WRONG! No other solid can compare to my dear pounded yam.

unripe plantain fufu (swallow) served with efo riro

Plantain is an extremely common staple in Africa because of its low cost and versatility in meals. It serves as main-course in its boiled or solid form, as accompaniment when the ripe plantain is fried and as a snack when (un)ripe plantain is fried into chips. Fried ripe plantain is very famous in Nigerian homes and it is called ‘Dodo’ pronounced as ‘d(oh)-d(oh)’. It is famous for its sweet taste which is gotten from the sweetness of ripened plantain.

Aside from Africa, plantain is also well recognised in other tropical countries such as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, as well as in India and some Asian countries.

Plantains are very rich in antioxidants, vitamins and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are better carbohydrates, unlike the simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are higher in fibre, contain more nutrient and digest more slowly, thereby assist in the management of blood sugar as well as weight gain. This is why foods such as plantain, whole grains, leafy vegetables, beans, which contain these complex carbohydrates are a healthy choice for the elderly. According to, these carbohydrates help to guard against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

So, how do you prepare plantain fufu with fresh unripe plantain?

See a List of Highly Nutritive Fruits And Vegetables That Are Common In Nigeria

How to make fufu with unripe plantain

Plantain Fufu: How to Make Swallow with Unripe Plantain

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Nigerian
Servings 2 people


  • 4 Unripe Plantain
  • 1 cup Water


  • Select green and firm plantain for this recipe
    unripe plantain
  • Wash the green unripe plantain with water
  • Remove the green skin of the plantain by cutting longitudinally and then opening the green cover, leaving only the unripened cream coloured plantain fruit.
  • Slice the plantain into small bits.
    diced unripe plantain foe blending
  • Pour sliced plantain and water into a blender. 250ml (1 cup) of water is sufficient for 3-4 plantains because you do not want the fufu to be too soft. After putting both water and plantain to the blender, blend the plantain to the smoothest texture that you can get.
    Blended unripe plantain for fufu
  • Pour the paste into a deep pot (use a non-stick pot if available) and place on low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spatula.
    Unripe plantain paste for fufu
  • As the plantain cooks, it will thicken up and you might notice bubbles or lumps which shows that the plantain id cooking. So, just keep stirring until the paste holds well together and forms a sizeable mass. In the process of stirring, if you think the plantain fufu is too thick, you can add more water to your taste.
  • Once done, serve in a dish and allow to cool a little before eating. The further it cools, the firmer it gets.
    unripe plantain fufu
Keyword unripe plantain


  1. After Bòlì, this is the second time a plantain food sounds interesting.
    And it looks sumptous.

    You didn’t talk about the taste, Since it’s made from unripe plantain which is not so sweet, does the swallow have a bitter after taste or that was eliminated while cooking?

    • The taste of the cooked unripe plantain is just fibrous like what a thick paper would taste like. But when enjoyed with soup, the taste of the soup overshadows the exact fibrous taste of the plantain.

      Anyways, I’m concerned about your taste bud because, plantain has actually never tasted bitter.

      • “fibrous Paper”….. made me think of the movie ‘WHY HIM’ where James Franco tried impressing his girlfriend’s parents with exquisite cuisines such as edible newspaper and soil…lol

        You might be right about my tastebud, I don’t even like Fried plantain…yuck!

        But, I will definitely be trying plantain fufu.

      • “fibrous paper” …. that reminds me of the movie ‘why HIM” when james Franco wanted to impress his girlfriend’s parent with exquisite dinner such as edible newspaper and soil. Lol

        Will try our plantain fufu soon.

        About my taste bud,you might be right. I don’t even like Dodo…yuck!

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