A gluten-free ancient grain from West Africa, Fonio is grown and celebrated in different ways across the region. In Mali it is called “the seed of the universe.” It’s a sign of honor when served to guests. Fonio is eaten like we eat rice or couscous, combined with peanuts to create “Djouka” and cooked into starchy sides like Polenta or cakes.
Fonio is easy to digest and low on the glycemic index. Those with diabetes, Celiac or gluten intolerance benefit from it most. It’s also higher in Protein, Fiber, Iron, Thiamine, and Riboflavin than both Couscous and Brown Rice. Fonio is also high in Methionine and Cystine, detoxifiers that slow cell aging, improve skin, hair and nails, chelate heavy metals and prevent excess fat in the liver.
This tiny seed is difficult to harvest, thresh, winnow and husk, but is essential to the people of the region. It’s the first crop harvested at the end of the rainy season before other crops come in. Fonio is hearty and flourishes in hot, dry and sandy West Africa.
I grew up eating Fonio and am so thrilled to share the ancient grain with you. Ditch your Quinoa and let’s Fonio together.