Although Benin is a small country in West Africa, did you know that it is full of delicious fruits? Or that it has a lot of vegetables and grains that you can’t afford to miss? You will be seduced by Benin’s agricultural potential after you finish reading this. Indeed, in Benin, food crafts are much more valued by women who use their know-how. This is achieved through processes that are passed on from generation to generation. Indeed, among these, cereal crops come in the artisanal processing system in Benin. These different types of grains that are transformed and consumed in Benin are: corn, millet and sorghum, fonio and others. So, in this article, we are going to reveal to you what the Benin food looks like and we will name certain best ancient grains recipes.
Finally, if you like to try new culinary recipes, don’t hesitate to subscribe to our free newsletter to be alerted.
Different types of grains & Health benefits
Find below the most consumed cereals in Benin and their health benefits:
Fonio, also called “Ipoaga” in the “Diamari” language, is one of the most widespread ancient cereals in countries like Burkina Faso, Guinea, Senegal, Mali and Nigeria. In Benin, it is cultivated in the North-west region, precisely in the Atacora department.
Unlike other cereals such as corn, sorghum, millet and rice, which are grown throughout the country, fonio seems to be an exotic crop. Thanks to its high magnesium content, it is very useful for reducing stress and anxiety. In addition, it has very important effects on muscle relaxation.
Cereal crops: Aborkoun (Millet)
Millet or Aborkoun in Fon language is a cereal with very small yellow or red seeds. Like other cereals, it has interesting nutritional qualities, even superior! For example, it contains vitamins B and E, iron and zinc, silica, phosphorus and magnesium. In fact, it is a real source of vitamins. Cheers to all those who eat like birds. That’s why i’m kuku for millet porridge.
Cereal crops : Gbado (Maize)
Maize, also called Agbado in Yoruba in Nigeria, is a food of choice in Benin, as it is part of almost the entire diet of the population. Moreover, it is generally grown in the south and center (Ouémé, Mono, Atlantique and Zou). This ancient cereal is consumed in different forms: roasted or boiled ears.
In addition, its flour is used for the preparation of akassa, pasta, pancakes, etc. Maize (Gbado in the local Goun language) is the only cereal containing antioxidants. Although it is low in fat, it is rich in fiber, which helps improve digestion.
Sorghum is one of the different types of grains in Benin. There are generally two types of sorghum: the ordinary sorghum and the red sorghum. The most cultivated sorghum in Benin is the red sorghum, because it adapts to many environments.
Indeed, it is an important food resource in Benin. Its cultivation is mainly practiced in the center and north of the country. Moreover, it is very rich in iron, or calcium and is an excellent food for diabetics. It is also known to fight against various gastric pathologies.
Rice or Monlikoun in the local Fon language, is the main benin food because of its popularity. It is consumed throughout the country, but is grown much more widely in the south and north. In Benin, only yellow rice is produced, but other types of rice are usually imported.
Moreover, monlikoun is a food that contains a lot of carbohydrates and is a real source of energy. It is also the best ally in case of diarrhea since it has astringent properties. Evidently, carbs offer great benefits so don’t dismiss it.
Ancient grains recipes in Benin food
The different types of grains mentioned above are found in many other recipes in Benin. Here are some of them:
GUI (in Fon language)
Also called Akassa in French, EKO in the local language of Nigeria, GUI is a paste made from fermented corn starch. It is consumed almost everywhere in Africa. In Benin, GUI is considered the cheapest dough you can buy.
Aborkoun coco (millet porridge)
Among the drinks that are taken for breakfast in Africa, and more precisely in Benin, there is the millet porridge. Indeed, millet is a rather pink cereal that contains fibers and facilitates digestion. Thus, it is used to make different food recipes in Benin.
Cereal crops : Wô (white corn dough)
White corn dough is one of Benin’s ancient grains recipes. In other words, it is the favorite dough of Beninese people from the South to the North. You can find it under several names in Africa, for example: Oka in Nigeria, Akoumè in Togo, Bankou in Ghana, etc. To savor this paste, it is accompanied by a sauce made of the most popular vegetables of Benin.
Fonio is generally consumed in the form of paste and porridge but rarely in the form of couscous. It can also be mixed with other agricultural products such as sorghum, millet, corn and yam or cassava pods. In the regions of Boukombé, fonio is combined with sorghum to make the local drink.
Sorghum flour cake
Sorghum is prepared as rice. However, it is also used to make porridge. Once processed into flour, it is used to make cookies and bread cakes.
Tchoukoutou is a local beer made from millet or corn. This drink is very common in northern Benin.
Finally, we believe you now have an overview of Beninese cuisine. You should now try these ancient grain-based recipes to see what flavor they have. So, did you enjoy this reading? Feel free to share your thoughts below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to receive our next recipes.