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!

Fonio Cereal/Acha Pudding: the African Super Grain Cereal

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.

Fonio Cereal/Acha Pudding - ingredients and toppings for the fonio recipe

Fonio Cereal/Acha Pudding - toppings and ingredients for fonio recipe top shot

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.

Fonio Cereal/Acha Pudding Fonio Cereal/Acha Pudding

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 Cereal/Acha Pudding

5 from 5 votes
Fonio Cereal/Acha Pudding
Fonio Cereal aka 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!

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: West African
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 197 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cup Fonio
  • 4 ½ cups Almond milk
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • Fruit of choice (optional)
  • Maple syrup to sweeten (optional)
Instructions
  1. Rinse the Fonio and place in a medium size pot

  2. 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. 

  3. 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.

Fonio Cereal/Acha Pudding: the African Super Grain Cereal

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!

 

17 Comments

  1. Ashima

    January 17, 2018 at 9:55 am

    I need to find some Fonio now 🙂 I didn’t come across it when I was living in Angola for last 3 years or during my travels in rest of Africa.. is there another local name for it? Is it like a millet? In India, we use almost the same recipe to make finger millet porridge. It is also gluten free and highly nutritious. The only difference is that we use jaggery to sweeten.

    by the way, I love your silver platter!

    Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Lois

      January 19, 2018 at 6:44 am

      Fonio is not usually grown in Angola, so I am not surprised you did not see when you were there. The grain is quite different from millet, it is significantly smaller. In Northern Nigeria it is locally called Acha or hungry man rice, I am not sure what it is locally referred to in other countries. The flavor is like brown rice in my opinion. You can find Fonio on thrive market and amazon, but I believe thrive market is cheaper.

      Reply
  2. michele

    January 17, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Fonio is a new grain to me…. I’ll have to look on amazon to see if I can get it delivered! I love to try new things~~

    Reply
  3. Jenni LeBaron

    January 19, 2018 at 12:12 am

    I’ve never heard of this grain, but I love hot cereals so I’m going to have to check it out. Looks tasty!

    Reply
  4. Kate

    January 19, 2018 at 11:53 am

    I have never heard of this before but it sounds SO GOOD. I love all the topping here, too. Yum!

    Reply
  5. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    January 19, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    I’ve never heard of fonio before but it seems like in the past few years we’ve been discovering grains that we’ve never had before. I’m definitely going to look for this — I’m kind of bored with oatmeal.

    Reply
    • Lois. O

      January 23, 2018 at 7:32 pm

      My hubby who’s gotten totally bored with oatmeal to the point of utter dislike was actually really in love with this dish! I think this will rekindle that spark again. It’s really good!

      Reply
  6. Ben Myhre

    January 19, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    This looks interesting. Would totally eat.

    Reply
  7. David @ Cooking Chat

    January 20, 2018 at 10:11 am

    I’ve never hear of fonio, interesting to learn about it!

    Reply
  8. Saima Zaidi

    January 20, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    I have to echo the rest of the people here and say that I have never heard of fonio, but honestly, your fonio pudding sounds so good, I have to try it sometime. WIll be such a refreshing change from the usual porridge oats we have for breakfast. Thanks for posting this recipe!

    Reply
  9. Jennifer

    January 21, 2018 at 8:32 am

    I’ve never heard of fonio before but I love learning about new to me foods and trying them out. The fact that it’s gluten free is wonderful considering I can’t have gluten!!! This porridge looks so yummy and filling!

    Reply
    • Lois. O

      January 23, 2018 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks! Yes it really is!

      Reply
  10. Jenni

    January 21, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    I have never heard of this grain before, but I am definitely going to be on the lookout for it now! Love that you turned this into a sweet breakfast – it looks and sounds amazing!

    Reply
    • Lois. O

      January 23, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      Thanks Jenni!

      Reply
  11. Amanda Mason

    January 21, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    I’ve never heard of funio but I’m a HUGE HUGE HUGE oatmeal lover…like huge!!! Ok, so I’m convinced I need to try funio! What a delicious looking recipe!! I’m so going to give this one a try!!

    Reply
    • Lois. O

      January 23, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      Let me know when you do! I’m sure you’ll love it!

      Reply
  12. Debs

    January 22, 2018 at 5:11 am

    This looks and sounds awesome. Love learning about new ingredients and how to use them.

    Reply

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