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Limpin' Susan

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November 19, 2020 by Amethyst Ganaway

Limpin’ Susan was rumored to once be Hoppin’ John’s wife – an old wives tale told in Southeastern African-American communities. One-pot meals have always been a staple of my life – from childhood stews to chicken and rice in college, they are always my go-to when I want a hefty meal that doesn’t break the bank or take much for me to make. Traditionally made with white rice, “Limpin’ Susan” also goes by other names like okra purloo or pilaf. It’s a smash-up of some of my favorite ingredients: fresh shrimp, okra, and bacon (all things I always keep at home), add a few aromatics and spices, and you have a meal that’s light and filling but full of flavor.

Using fonio instead of rice provides a quicker and fool-proof pilaf that seems to have a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy! I used original fonio for this dish, but it also goes great with the Greens! Fonio Pilaf (Moringa + Spinach) or with Jollof (Tomato + Bell Pepper) for an even more savory route.


Serves 6-8 people
    • cup dry Yolélé fonio, cooked according to package and cooled
    • slices thick cut bacon, cut into small chunks
    • pound medium uncooked shrimp (26/30) peeled, deveined, tails removed
    • teaspoon paprika
    • teaspoon garlic powder
    • teaspoon onion powder
    • small yellow or white onion, diced small
    • ½  red bell pepper, diced small
    • ½  teaspoon minced garlic
    • ½  teaspoon hot pepper (I used habanero) finely minced or to taste
    • 12  ounces frozen (thawed) or fresh cut okra, about ½ inch slices
    • Salt + pepper to taste


      • 01 .  

        While fonio is cooling, in a deep frying pan, cook chopped bacon over medium low heat, stirring often, so that the bacon renders down and gets crispy. When most of the fat has cooked out and bacon is crispy to your liking, carefully remove the bacon and place on a napkin to drain excess oil.

      • 02 .  

        While bacon is cooking, mix your shrimp, the seasonings, and a heavy pinch of salt together in a bowl and set aside.

      • 03 .  

        In the same pan, over medium-low heat, add the diced onion and bell pepper and cook until onions are translucent and peppers have softened, about 3-5 minutes, then add in the minced garlic and hot pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

      • 04 .  

        Turn up heat to medium-high and add okra. Stir once or twice to incorporate, and cook until the okra just begins to soften. Stirring more often will make the okra’s mucilaginous properties arise, and you want this okra to be slightly crunchy still! Then add your seasoned shrimp.

      • 05 .  

        When shrimp is pink and cooked, turn off the heat and add salt and pepper, cooked fonio, and cooked bacon. Toss lightly together and serve!


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