Shrimp and Fonio Grits

Source: Pierre Thiam, Simply West African

Recipe Type:

This recipe appears in Simply West African by Pierre Thiam and Lisa Katayama (Clarkson Potter, 2023) and was demonstrated at the Foodwise Classroom on September 23, 2023.

Serves 4


1 pound large fresh or frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken stock or water
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup (2/3 stick) unsalted butter, cubed, or extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cooked Fonio
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
1 cup seasonal leafy greens, chopped


In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, garlic, paprika, cayenne, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the pepper. Marinate in the refrigerator while you prepare the fonio.

In a large saucepan, combine the chicken stock, milk, butter (or olive oil), the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and the remaining ½ teaspoon pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat. Slowly stir in the fonio and leafy greens.

Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to its lowest setting, cover tightly, and cook until thickened, 10 minutes. Uncover and fold in the cheese with a wooden spoon until melted. Remove the pot from the heat and cover the pot to keep the fonio warm while you cook the shrimp.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the marinated shrimp and sauté until they turn pink, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Divide the fonio among 4 plates, place the shrimp on top, and sprinkle with the scallions. Serve immediately.

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