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Recipes from home

Koteu’s spinach and tuna with African fufu recipe

Koteu and IRC interpreter Sandra. Photo: Stefania Mizara/IRC

Earlier this year the IRC in Greece hosted cooking workshops for refugee and local women living on the island of Lesvos. Some of the women who took part talked to us about their experience and shared the recipe of the dish they shared with the group. Koteu shares her spinach and tuna with African fufu recipe. 

Koteu is a refugee from Cameroon who has been supported by the IRC’s mental health centre in Greece for the past year. She chose to share her dish of spinach and tuna with African fufu because she grew up eating it. “I wanted to share it with you” she told the IRC. 

When I know that there are many people there to eat it, I am happy to cook.

Koteu cooked her dish with the help of Sandra, an IRC interpreter of our mental health programme on Lesvos.

Follow the recipe to learn how to make spinach and tuna with African fufu.


  • 1 kilo of fine semolina
  • 500g fresh spinach ( can also use frozen)
  • 1kg fresh tuna fish
  • 500g shrimps or large prawns
  • 2 large onions-chopped
  • 1 garlic clove- mashed
  • 3 large tomatoes-chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Ground ginger, salt and pepper

"Food has always brought people together." IRC's Senior Advocacy Manager Martha Roussou helped to organise the cooking workshops. "The spices, the smells and the memories that cooking brings create bonds. Cooking is intimate."


  • Saute the onions in a generous amount of olive oil until they are translucent and add the garlic.
  • Add the tuna in bite-sized pieces, salt and white pepper
  • When the tuna has changed colour, add the chopped tomatoes and simmer over low heat.
  • Briefly saute the spinach and press it to remove any excess water (if using frozen: just thaw and remove excess water). Keep the water!
  • Add the spinach to the tuna along with more olive oil
  • Saute the prawns with a bit of garlic, pepper and ground ginger.

"I was really touched by the amazing pair who joined forces to cook together." Said Martha Roussou about Koteu and Sandra, “Seeing the bond the two had created, as well as hearing from Koteu how much the IRC has helped her, warmed my heart.”

Photo: Stefania Mizara/IRC
  • When the tuna mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, add a bit of the water extracted from the spinach and let simmer for a few more minutes.
  • Put the tuna and spinach on plates and add the prawns on top.

To make Fufu

  • Boil half a litre of water and reduce the heat.
  • Add the semolina and keep stirring for about 10 minutes until the mix becomes a thick dough.
  • Serve the fufu with the tuna and spinach.

“I can cook for many people and I feel good,” Koteu told us. “When I cook I feel better because I don’t think about anything, only cooking.”

Photo: Stefania Mizara/IRC

 Recipes from home

This recipe is part of our Recipes from Home series. These recipes have been shared by refugee and Greek women who took part in the IRC’s cooking workshops held at Nan restaurant on the Island of Lesvos in Greece. The aim of the workshops is to bring together local and refugee women, to promote common experiences and mutual understanding through the universal language of food. 

The cooking workshops were supported by the Western Union Foundation.