Fonio Cereal/Acha Pudding: the African Super Grain Porridge
Fonio is a drought resistant, gluten-free, nutritious (cystine and methionine loaded) ancient super grain mostly grown in the Western Sahel region of Africa, and this Acha pudding or fonio pudding recipe uses it in a delicious breakfast porridge which will absolutely blow your expectations of oatmeal away!
Happy New Year! I took a brief break for the holidays but I am back!!! With the new year, I like a lot of people have quite a few new action plans. One of the plans I have for the year is to celebrate African food even more here on Yummy Medley, and to challenge you guys to break your diet norms and explore the world of African and Afro-Tropical food. In keeping with my new year resolve, I will be sharing with you the merits of one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s treasures, Fonio. Fonio is a drought resistant grain mostly grown in the Western Sahel region of Africa, and this fonio recipe uses it in a porridge consumed in diverse variations, and is referred to as Acha pudding or fonio cereal in Nigeria.
Before I jump into this fonio recipe and encourage you to order some Fonio to make this dish, let me tell you a little but about this glorious grain. Fonio is a gluten free grain much like Quinoa (even though it is quite a bit smaller), but is rich in cystine and methionine, amino acids not found in most other grains, and has a texture similar to couscous when cooked. It is an essential grain in much of the Western Sahel region and in Northern Nigeria it is locally called Acha. In Nigeria, Fonio is also nicknamed hungry man’s rice, because a little goes a long way; 1.5 cups of Fonio can serve 8 people. It can be eaten savory or sweet (like in this recipe), and can be ground up to make gluten free flour for baking. Fonio is an essential grain for many Africans, as it is great for nourishing pregnant and nursing mothers, and is also great for weaning babies. If you want to read more about the merits of Fonio, Chef Pierre Thiam sings much of its praises in a guardian article about this grain.
This Fonio cereal recipe is best eaten as breakfast. In northern Nigeria, when Fonio is made this style, it is typically eaten with a side of Akara or Moi Moi, as a hefty breakfast. In this case, I made my fonio cereal/acha pudding completely vegan, topped it with some fruit and sweetened it with maple syrup. Feel free to use any fruit of your choice to top your fonio cereal/acha pudding if you make it this way, I know that coconut flakes, diced mango, crushed nuts and cocoa nibs also make a good topping on Acha pudding.
Fonio is a drought resistant, gluten-free, nutritious (cystine and methionine loaded) ancient super grain mostly grown in the Western Sahel region of Africa, and this Acha pudding or fonio cereal recipe uses it in a delicious breakfast porridge which will absolutely blow your expectations of oatmeal away!
- 1 ½ cup Fonio
- 4 ½ cups Almond milk
- ½ tsp Salt
- Fruit of choice (optional)
- Maple syrup to sweeten (optional)
Rinse the Fonio and place in a medium size pot
Pour in the almond milk, and simmer the Fonio on low heat, stirring continuously for 30- 35 minutes until the Fonio grains are tender and have absorbed the milk.
Once the grains are tender, add in the salt, stir and serve warm. You may serve the Fonio topped with fruits, nuts and sweetened with maple syrup or sweetener of your choice.
Let me know in the comments below if you try out this fonio recipe, how you liked it! I’m sure it’ll change your view of healthy grain cereals completely!