Crispy Fonio Fried Shrimp with Ginger-Lime Yogurt Sauce

published Oct 20, 2022
Fonio Fried Shrimp Recipe

Fonio stands in as gluten-free breadcrumbs wrapped around these fried shrimp - with the West African grain still providing a crunchy, satisfying texture.

Serves4 to 6

Prep30 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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Photograph of fonio fried shrimp (shrimp and fonio fritters) on a sheet tray with dipping sauce.
Credit: Maria Do

Because I grew up in a coastal community, seafood has always been a central part of my diet and way of life. I love fresh shrimp and eat it often. In this recipe, I coated shrimp with a mixture of cooked fonio, fonio flour, and dried spices for a gluten-free breading perfect for frying. The results are extra crunchy and perfectly seasoned.

Don’t skip the creamy, tangy dipping sauce — it’s super simple to whip up. The tartness of the yogurt and lime help cut through the richness of the fried shrimp, and the habanero pepper and fresh ginger add a little heat at the end of your bite.

This fonio fried shrimp is great as an appetizer, snack, or meal. If you have leftovers, freeze then reheat them in an air fryer or oven for maximum crispiness.

Fonio Fried Shrimp Recipe

Fonio stands in as gluten-free breadcrumbs wrapped around these fried shrimp - with the West African grain still providing a crunchy, satisfying texture.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6


For the shrimp:

  • 2/3 cup


  • 1/4 cup

    uncooked Yolélé original fonio

  • 1/4 cup

    Yolélé fonio flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    jumbo uncooked peeled and deveined shrimp (16 to 20 per pound)

  • 2 1/2 cups

    vegetable or canola oil, for deep frying

For the dipping sauce:

  • 2

    medium limes

  • 1 (2-inch) piece

    fresh ginger

  • 2

    habanero peppers

  • 2 2/3 cups

    plain whole milk or lowfat Greek yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt


Make the fonio:

  1. Place 2/3 cup water and 1/4 cup dry uncooked fonio in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the fonio steam covered for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff the fonio with a fork, breaking up any large clumps. Transfer to a large plate or small rimmed baking sheet, spread into an even layer, and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce.

Make the dipping sauce:

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment as you complete it: Finely grate the zest of 2 medium limes (about 4 teaspoons). Juice the limes until you have 1/4 cup. Peel a 2-inch piece of ginger and coarsely chop until you have about 2 tablespoons. Trim the stems from 2 habanero peppers but them whole.

  2. Add 2 2/3 cups Greek yogurt and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Process until the ginger and habanero are very finely chopped and the ingredients are blended, 30 to 60 seconds. Pour into a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Bread and fry the shrimp:

  1. Clean and dry the food processor. Add the fonio, 1/4 cup fonio flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Pulse until combined and the consistency is similar to cornmeal, 12 to 15 (1-second) pulses. Transfer to a shallow bowl or pie plate.

  2. Beat 2 large eggs in a second shallow bowl with a fork. Bread 1 1/2 pounds colossal peeled and deveined shrimp one at a time: Dip in the eggs until coated and let the excess drip off. Place in the fonio mixture and turn to coat. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.

  3. Heat 2 1/2 cups neutral oil in a large high-sided or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until 375ºF. Meanwhile, fit a wire rack onto a second baking sheet.

  4. Fry the shrimp in batches of 5 to 6: Carefully add the shrimp to the hot oil. Fry (the fonio breading may pop occasionally) until golden brown all over, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to the rack and serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover shrimp can be cooled and frozen solid in a single layer on the baking sheet, then stored frozen in a zip-top bag for up to a few weeks. Reheat from frozen until warmed through, 4 to 5 minutes in a 400ºF air fryer or 10 minutes in a 425ºF oven.