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Image by Kim Craven Photography

Fonio is an ancient, West African grain that is a cross between couscous and quinoa in both appearance and texture. Charleston-based chef BJ Dennis crafts this recipe in a nod to Gullah tradition and incorporates okra to blend international and Southern cultures into this dish.

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Serves 4

  • 1¼ cups water
  • Neutral cooking oil
  • Salt
  • 1 cup fonio
  • 2 cups okra, sliced ¼- inch thick
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 cup bell pepper, diced small
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Pepper to taste
  1. Place water, oil, and salt into a small pot. Bring to a boil and stir in fonio. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes, turn off heat, and fluff with a fork. Fonio should be tender and easily separated grain for grain. Set pot aside.
  2. In a 10-inch skillet add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and place over medium-high heat. Add okra and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add cherry tomatoes and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cooked fonio to the pan. Stir the mixture for another minute and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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