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Yolélé Fonio Pilafs bring West African grain to US homes

The tiny, nutritious grain has a fluffy texture similar to quinoa and a nutty taste that can be used in a myriad of ways

Fonio pilaf.
Fonio pilaf.

Yolélé, the Brooklyn company co-founded by Pierre Thiam, a prominent chef and cookbook author, imports the ancient West African grain fonio to the United States. The tiny, nutritious grain has a fluffy texture similar to quinoa and a nutty taste that can be used in a myriad of ways. Fonio isn’t well known here, but Thiam, a Senegal native who grew up eating the grain, is working to change this. His company just introduced a line of five delicious fonio pilafs with seasonings inspired by West African dishes. One choice is Dakar Curry, fragrant with turmeric and scattered with currants; another, Greens, has a tinge of color from moringa and spinach. Jollof has tomato and bell pepper; Yassa combines onion, lime, and chili; and the earthy Afro-Funk, which mixes fermented locust bean and spices, has a subtle kick. Each 7-ounce package cooks in five minutes ($7). Serving suggestions on the back help create a very good meal. Yolélé Fonio Pilafs are available at yolele.com, and Whole Foods Market locations.

ANN TRIEGER KURLAND

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Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at anntrieger@gmail.com.