The Fast-Cooking Grain You've Never Heard Of, But Need To Try

The pandemic has forced everyone to cook and experiment more in their kitchens. Nowadays, you'll catch folks whipping up banana bread, baked feta pasta, and all sorts of other goodies.

Cooking at home has also forced people to look for more foods to introduce to their daily diets in an effort to combat the monotony of eating the same thing day in and day out. One of the easier things to cook are grains. Not only do dry grains have a longer shelf life, but they can also be highly nutritious as well.

Gone are the days where only rice and pasta stocked pantry shelves. Now you can find things like couscous, quinoa, and millet. But there is one grain that is a star all on its own, per Cooking Light, that can knock the socks right off of quinoa. The grain in question? Fonio, a grain with West African origins, according to the kitchn.

Fonio is considered a superfood and is prepared in minutes

According to the kitchn, fonio is a grain that possesses a nutty flavor profile and is also packed with lots of nutrients. Like most grains and pastas, a little can go a long way, as fonio swells up as it gets hydrated during the cooking process.

For some, fonio might seem like a newer grain, but a Healthline report suggests the opposite: It's reported that fonio has been around for well over 5,000 years. This superfood is considered a heritage grain, as it may be one of the African continent's oldest cultivated cereals. Where can fonio be found? Healthline notes that it is more prominent in countries like Nigeria, Senegal, and Mali.

Cooking Light tells us that this grain carries amino acids like methionine and cystine and packs a whopping 12 grams of protein in one cup. Why are methionine and cystine important? According to Healthline, methionine can help with things like growth and repair of the body's tissues, while cystine assists with the body's natural detoxification processes. One thing's for sure: Regardless of its added benefits, fonio will be delicious.