It's low in calories, high in protein and healthy for the environment, too. Here's how to cook it.
West Africa’s indigenous superfood is coming back from obscurity and making an appearance on the world stage
In fact, fonio, which is possibly West Africa’s oldest cereal grain, is something like the poster child of this entire movement. Since at least 2014, it’s been called the next quinoa, and it’s already available in Whole Foods and on Amazon.
Entrepreneurs face hurdles trying to turn obscure African plants into the next breakthrough product
Pierre Thiam, an American chef from Senegal, still remembers how when he was growing up in Dakar, some families in the countryside sent their children off to school with a little fonio tucked into their bags for luck. An ancient, sandy-colored grain, fonio was cultivated for thousands of years across West Africa and still is.
A Senegalese restaurateur and former Iron Chef contestant wants to bring the West African grain to American consumers
Ancient grains such as quinoa, Khorasan wheat (Kamut), spelt, sorghum, amaranth, and others are increasingly popular among American consumers. Now, another ancient grain will soon appear on grocery store shelves: fonio, a versatile, nutritious, and sustainably produced grain from Africa.
A cookbook from the chef Pierre Thiam offers a guide to making this African grain.
If I were to pick one food realm that inspires me to broaden my dietary horizons the most, it would be ancient grains. From buckwheat to amaranth, these mighty plants have been a nutritious staple across the globe for millenniums, often providing a wealth of positive health benefits compared to modern grains.
Yolélé hopes this nutritious, climate crisis-ready crop will compete with quinoa globally, while supporting smallholder farms in West Africa.
According to Mali’s Dogon people, fonio, a nutty grain cultivated in West Africa, was once “the seed of the universe.” The foremost text on Dogon philosophy, Conversations with Ogotemêlli, describes how the Dogon believed that the entire world originated from a single fonio grain.Now Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam wants this “seed of the universe” to become the next universally beloved grain.
Quinoa and couscous, move aside—fonio is *the* super grain to watch out for in the world of vegan cooking. While the aforementioned grains are commonly used in many plant-based recipes, fonio is one nutrient-packed grain that’s deserving of a prominent spot in any vegan dish. But what is it? And how do you cook with it?
Ancient grains and "orphan crops" like fonio and amaranth have advantages for farmers and consumers.
It’s become nearly as predictable as night following day. Every couple of years or so we can count on being blitzed by a batch of headlines claiming this or that nut or leaf or fruit or vegetable is the world’s new “superfood.” It’s happened with kale, avocados, sweet potatoes, blueberries, quinoa, you name it. Now, the headlines tell us it’s about to happen to an ancient grain from Africa called fonio.