This is a dish that is very close to my heart. Growing up, my mum made this creamy white pudding for us for breakfast and we all loved it. It still remains one of my few comfort foods. Fonio, also referred to as “Hungry Rice”, is a tiny pearl-like grain common in West Africa and some parts of India. It is a super grain packed with a lot of nutrients. In this recipe, I cooked the fonio grain with some milk and added some toppings for texture. Move over oats and cereals, a new guy is in town.
(1) 3/4 Cup Fonio (See Note 1)
(2) 4 Cups Water
(3) 2 Cups Milk (See Note 2)
(4) 3 Tablespoons Granulated White Sugar
(5) A Pinch of Salt
(6) 1/4 Cup Raisins/Cranberries (Optional)
(7) 2 Tablespoons Pecans (Optional)
(8) A drizzle of Honey (Optional)
(1) Due to the tiny nature of this grain, it most times has a few sand particles in it which have to be removed before cooking. I have uploaded a tutorial here on how to wash fonio grains. It is an easy process. This grain swells a lot and absorbs a lot of liquid when cooking. I used a total of 6 cups of liquid for just 3/4 cup of fonio. Do not be tempted to cook a lot of fonio as you might end up with a big pot of pudding.
(2) In place milk, you can use only water and add milk to the pudding just before serving.
(1) Wash fonio grains. See tutorial here.
(2) Place Fonio along with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt on fire. The water might look like much when compared to the quantity of grains, but it will all be absorbed after about 10 minutes of cooking. Keep stirring pudding continuously at this early stage of cooking and until it has swollen up. This will prevent lumps from developing. As soon as the water is almost dry, add the remaining 2 cups of water.
(Focus on black part of spatula. As the cooking process advances, it keeps disappearing)
(3) After most of the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes into cooking, add the milk (or more water) and stir every now and then. The pudding will keep increasing in volume. After a while, you will notice some splashes. Be careful not to get splashed by the hot liquid. You can use a splash guard now if you have one.
(4) Cook pudding for about 10 minutes after the splashes start. Total cooking time should be about 30 minutes. You want the grains to lose their grittiness and become smooth and silky. The pudding will also be somewhat thick.
(5) Take the pudding off fire when it is ready and add sugar and raisins (if using). Stir. The sugar thins out the pudding a little. You can use more or less sugar, depending on how sweet you want it.
(6) Serve pudding immediately and top with some more raisins, pecans and a drizzle of honey if you like.
Note: This pudding solidifies after sitting at room temperature for a while. Like risotto, it is always best you serve it immediately it is ready. It can be served with some beignets or fritters like my Plantain and Coconut Fritters. Enjoy!
For more Fonio recipes, check out my Pete Acha which is a healthy vegetable portage.