Recipe: Fonio Pilau

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Recipes & more Fonio

Pilau fonio – a West African ingredient meets East African cuisine. Pilau is a traditional dish from Tanzanian cuisine. It is a particularly popular choice for serving on holidays like Christmas and is normally prepared with rice. But fonio is also wonderfully suited. Cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, allspice and a pinch of ginger transform the fonio into a veritable explosion of flavour. Recipe by Velvet & Vinegar, whose husband comes from Tanzania.


  • 1 tbsp vegan ghee or olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 400 ml water
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1⁄2 tsp allspice, ground
  • 1 tsp cardamom, ground
  • 2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 pinch of ginger, ground (optional)
  • 1 tbsp stock powder
  • 200 g fonio
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk (optional)
  • 80 g nuts, according to taste (e.g. cashes and macadamia or pecan)
  • 50 g cranberries, dried


  1. Put the stock powder and all the spices into the water and bring to the boil.
  2. Stir the fonio into the boiling water. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and briefly (approx. 1 minute) leave the fonio on the still warm hob. Then remove from the hob and leave covered for 10-15 minutes (like couscous).
  3. In the meantime, heat oil in a pan and sauté onions and garlic until transparent. Set aside.
  4. In another pan, roast the nuts and likewise set aside.
  5. Break up the fonio well using a fork and mix in the remaining ingredients. If you like, you can add 1-2 tbsp of coconut milk, but this makes the consistency less fluffy.

Note: Pilau fonio tastes fantastic as a side to roasted vegetables, mchicha or a delicious vegetable stew, or vegetables with a tomato sauce and legumes.

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