All-natural Fonio Grains
After the quinoa madness and the kale frenzy, what super-food will supplant them in the years to come? Fonio, a West African cereal, may be the ideal candidate. Rich in protein and gluten-free, this grass, which is enjoying renewed interest in Africa, is boosting the local economy and conquering the West. Zoom on this new mother grain.
Cultivated for more than 5000 years in West Africa (Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, etc.), fonio is a cereal that comes in the form of very small seeds. They measure no more than 1.3 mm and 0.8 in diameter. Once shelled, the grain is only 1 mm long and 0.7 mm wide. Thus, the weight of 1000 grains does not exceed 0,6 g. Gluten-free and as rich in protein as wheat (although it contains slightly more carbohydrates), fonio has very interesting nutritional properties, in addition to being filling.
Hence the renewed interest that this part of Africa is showing in this sacred seed, which represents the germ of the universe in the Dogon cosmogony. In ancient Egypt, it was even associated with divinatory rites. Once considered the food of the poor because it was the staple diet of rural populations, fonio is now a luxury product, three times more expensive than rice – coveted by the urban bourgeoisie of West Africa.
Like millet, fonio is mainly eaten as porridge and couscous in African families. The sauce that accompanies it can be made with milk, peanut paste or meat. Fonio can accompany other foods.
Use a couscous maker. 3/4 litre of water for 1 kilo of Fonio. Steam the fonio for 50 minutes.
Fonio has such undisputed nutritional values that some nutritionists compare it to egg (fonio flour: 10.5 g of protein per 100 g).
It is very rich in methionine. Its high fibre content makes it easy to digest.
Hulled fonio grain contains practically no lipids, unlike other cereals whose germ, rich in fat, never disappears completely when hulled.