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Fonio Grits

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July 13, 2020 by Jason Chan

Creamy, nutritious and perfect with sweet + sticky ribs, buttery brioche toast or underneath pan-roasted mushrooms (with good olive oil + Maldon salt).

This recipe uses fonio + cauliflower for body and white sweet potatoes for a little sweetness and silkier texture. The white variety has qualities of both the orange sweet potato and the classic russet. They make a great low-calorie, high-fiber alternative to starchy potatoes, and have a similar crumbly texture to the russet. They are sweet, but slightly less so than their orange sibling. (Neither are to be confused with yams, a name often used to call orange sweet potatoes in the U.S. The two are not related and don’t have many similarities besides both being tubers.)

And please remember to wash and scrub your potatoes thoroughly. They grow in the dirt so calling them dirty is not an exaggeration!


Serves 4-5 people
    • 1/2  head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets, save the cauliflower core
    • small white sweet potato, large slices
    • 3/4  cup dry Yolélé fonio
    • teaspoon olive oil
    • green onion, ends removed, finely chopped, seperate the green and white sections (the green parts will be used for garnish)
    • cauliflower core, bottom discarded, diced
    • A large handful of kale or watercress, finely chopped
    • knob of butter (optional)
    • Salt + pepper


      • 01 .  

        Prepare a large pot with a steam rack. If you don’t have a steam rack you can use the lid of a mason jar.

      • 02 .  
      • 03 .  

        Alternatively you can stack three metal forks on top of each other.


      • 04 .  

        Place the cauliflower + sweet potato in a metal or microwave safe bowl and top with dry fonio. Fill your pot with around 2-3 cups of water. Make sure to watch your water level while cooking, add more water if necessary.


      • 05 .  

        Steam the cauliflower, sweet potato and fonio on high heat for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower and sweet potatoes are tender (the fonio will still have a bit of bite to it). You can check if it’s ready by inserting a paring knife into the cauliflower and sweet potato. The knife should go through the sweet potato easily. Immediately transfer ingredients to a blender or food processor. Remember to use oven mitts and a large spoon. It’ll be very hot!


      • 06 .  

        Blend for about a minute. It should purée easily and quickly. Leave your blender covered to allow the fonio to continue cooking.


      • 07 .  

        Discard the water in the pot used to steam.  Add olive oil on medium heat and saute the white parts of the scallion for about 2 minutes.


      • 08 .  

        Add cubed cauliflower core  and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


      • 09 .  

        Add the watercress (or kale) and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.


      • 10 .  

        Add the  purée to the pot and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the butter and mix thoroughly (you can leave the butter out or swap for a tablespoon of olive oil for a #dairyfree alternative)



      • 11 .  

        Season with salt and pepper.


      • 12 .  

        Take off the heat and plate with your favorite pairing. Garnish with the scallion greens + enjoy!


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