Sorry for the lack of food stuff last Friday – it’s been a busy few weeks! But Food Friday is back today with fonde, a dish that I have grown to love over the months.
In my family dinner is pretty simple and most nights consists solely of rice. As this can get a little monotonous for me I am always excited when I see the preparations going on for fonde. Some people eat this for breakfast, which makes quite a lot of sense considering it is kinda porridge-y and sweet. However I’m not about to turn it down for dinner!
The process is more complicated than throwing together a pot of rice which is probably why we only have it about once a week. You start out with a bucket of finely ground millet and a cup full of water. Some of the millet goes into a large metal bowl and several handfuls of water get tossed in.
Then comes the cool part. The woman making it, who is usually my aunt in my household, starts scooping up the millet powder from the bottom of the bowl slanted in her lap, pulling it to the top. As she works her fingers through the mixture she breaks apart large clumps to form increasingly smaller nubs.
She adds a splash of water here and a sprinkle of millet powder there, as feels right. Over and over again her hands work through the pebbly mixture until all the clumps have turned into little spheres. (How this wonder of cooking magic works I still haven’t figured out.)
She tosses the little millet balls into the air with the bowl a couple of times, in a motion almost like flipping an omelet with a frying pan. Perhaps this is to condense the millet more into the balls or to make them evenly spherical – I’m not really sure. But it looks super cool!
It then needs to be cooked. A large pot is put over the fire to boil water. Once the water is boiling in go the millet balls! It cooks and cooks, with occasional stirring, over the dying fire.
The last step is to add a lot of sugar and my family also flavors it with lemon, usually with a powdered flavor packet, but it is especially tasty with fresh lemon juice!
My mom will then ladle it out into cups and little yogurt containers and dinner is served!
The result is a slightly thickened, sweet, beige soup suspending the small balls of millet. Trying to get an attractive picture of my fonde last night was a challenge that I don’t think I succeeded at. However, despite its ho-hum appearance it is a delicious Senegalese dish made from local ingredients!
Thanks for reading!