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Tag: African Superfoods

The Ultimate West African Comfort Food

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Fondé, a West African dish made from millet and yoghurt, is a lovely combination of textures and flavours; the sweetness and creaminess of the yoghurt combined with the grainy and nutty flavour of the millet make this simple, healthy and filling snack taste like a rich indulgence.

Un-cooked rolled millet
Un-cooked, pre-rolled millet

Millet has in the past dismissively been thought of as the ‘poor man’s grain’ but this humble and hardy crop – staple food to many across Africa and Asia – deserves to be considered an African superfood. Here’s why:

  • It’s gluten-free and one of the most easily digested grains around
  • It contains B vitamins, Iron, Magnesium and Calcium
  • It helps lower cholesterol
  • It’s a great source of protein
  • It has high levels of Tryptophan

Tryptophan is the ‘magic ingredient’ which makes Fondé the ideal comfort food and evening snack as it produces Serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone which calms your mood and helps you sleep. Here in Senegal, Fondé is usually eaten as a snack in place of dinner, most commonly on Sunday night before a long week of work begins.

Here’s how to make it:

Bring 3 cups of water to the boil

Add 1 cup of millet

Reduce the heat to medium and stir regularly

Turn off the heat once all the water has been absorbed into the millet (about 25 minutes cooking time)

Cooked millet alongside packet of 'Arraw' brand pre-rolled millet
Cooked millet next to a packet of ‘Arraw’ pre-rolled millet

Place a couple of tablespoons of the millet into a bowl

Add lait caillé, a special Senegalese yoghurt which is slightly curdled and runnier than normal (to make your own version of lait caillé use two cups of plain or vanilla yoghurt, one cup of sour cream)

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Add a tablespoon or two of condensed milk

Add 1-2 teaspoons of plain or vanilla sugar

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And there you have it, fabulous Fondé! An easy, nourishing snack that tastes like an extravagant treat. For an added nutritional punch, why not have your Fondé alongside a steaming cup of West African Kinkeliba Tea? See my post on how to make it here.

 

Fondé is made with millet flour rolled into cous-cous-like balls. While it’s possible to make this at home, most people buy it ready-made. If you’re outside West Africa, head to your nearest African shop or food market to find pre-rolled millet. Here is a directory of African supermarkets around the world.

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Kinkeliba : the West African Super Tea

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In Senegal, Kinkeliba (Seh-Haw in Wolof) is the most popular of the bush teas. But despite amazing healing properties and higher antioxidant levels than Green tea, it’s not widely known outside West Africa.

The leaves of this shrub – when dried and boiled – produce a strong, earthy-tasting tea which is mineral-rich and caffeine-free.

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Dried Bissap (Hibiscus) and Kinkeliba at Tilene Market in Dakar
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Bag of dried Kinkeliba leaves

It’s drunk all year round but is especially popular during the colder months, and is used by Muslims to break the fast during Ramadan.

A non-exhaustive list of Kinkeliba’s health benefits would go something like this: aids liver disorders, sleep problems, digestion, skin complaints such as eczema and acne (due to anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties), general convalescence after illness, detoxification, and can be applied during the final rinse to strengthen dry and brittle hair. If that wasn’t enough, research suggests it may be beneficial in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.

No wonder Kinkeliba is said to have mystical properties and is referred to as “tisane de longue vie” or infusion of long life.

Here’s how to make it:

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Add 20g of dried Kinkeliba leaves to a pot with a litre of boiling water
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Boil for 20-30 minutes until the water turns orangey-red (to make a weaker tea steep a tablespoon of leaves in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes)
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Add sugar or honey to sweeten, or mint, lemon or milk to your taste
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And voila, enjoy your refreshing West African antioxidant hit!

If you live in Senegal, you can find Kinkeliba leaves at most markets and supermarkets. In the United States, you can purchase Kinkeliba from a fantastic company called Saafara Teas, founded by Senegalese entrepreneur Ismael Diagne.

Diagne’s mission is to bring the healing herbal teas of West Africa to the world, while helping those who harvest the plants in Senegal. A percentage of each box of tea purchased goes towards improving facilities in the local community.

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