Have you ever heard of fonio? Well, I hadn’t up until a few years ago. It is this fabulous, beautiful little gluten-free grain that is wonderful to cook with and it’s addition to your kitchen is a great way to mix it up with some of your traditional dishes (I sounded hip, right? I’m such a nerd.) Nutritionally speaking, it’s similar to whole wheat, and taste-wise it blends well with whatever you’re making, like pasta or couscous would.
The following is from Wikipedia (I love wikipedia! Can you imagine growing up with this type of free resource at your disposal! Lucky punk kids…):
Fonio is the smallest of all species of millet. It is one of the primary cereals of southern Sudan and Ethiopia in Africa. Fonio has continued to be important locally because it is both nutritious and one of the world’s fastest growing cereals, reaching maturity in as little as six to eight weeks. It is a crop that can be relied on in semi-arid areas with poor soils, where rains are brief and unreliable. The grains are used in porridge and couscous, for bread, and for beer.
Couscous, bread and beer…que des bonnes choses! All yummy things in my book! You can find tons of info on fonio with google. I personally found more in French than in English. You can also find some great info at the Food Lorists blog. The entry is in English, plus Chef Yann has added nutrition info and some great pictures : informative indeed.
As I’ve mentioned before, I love one-pot meals and casseroles because they save time and I am the only dish-washer the Fish household has! I think I’ll have to officially change the name of my blog to “Musings From The Casserole”- what do you think? This is another post-long-Sunday-run dish because it’s a great mix of protein and carbs, and because of the parsley and garbanzo beans, has a great iron count to boot! This dish definitely has a Maghrebish feel, reminiscent of a veggie couscous. You can easily play with the spices, and jack up the heat with some cayenne or some harisa.
Please note :While Fonio seems relatively easy to purchase or order in most health food stores here in France, I’m not sure where it can be found elsewhere in the world. I’m sorry!
Super-Delicious Fonio Casserole
- 1 cup Fonio
- 5 cups veggie broth (or again, just water or H2O + bouillon powder)
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 450g/1lb cooked garbanzo beans, well rinsed if canned
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- chopped garlic (I added 5 cloves, but we are garlic people)
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, mixed in just before serving
Mix everything in a casserole dish, cover, and bake at about 350f/180c for 35mins or so. Take it out and give it a stir, add some water if it’s looking dry, and put it back in until the carrots are tender, probably about a half an hour depending on the size of your carrot chunks. Let it sit a few mintues (like, while you’re chopping & rinsing your parsley), and add the parsley. I served this with a soy yougert and fresh cilantro sauce (soy yogert, chopped cilantro, a little salt, a little lemon juice in blender, whizz, et voila).
I think I’ll have to officially change the name of my blog to “Musings From The Casserole”- what do you think?