At the entrance to Yola, the capital of Adamawa State, sits a giant carved calabash and ladle. It sits on the palm of a tall, slender structure in the middle of a roundabout. This whole structure is symbolic of one of the foods that the people of Yola are known for: fura da nono.
The calabash itself is the sort in which fura da nono is usually stored and served. The ladle is usually used to mash the fura in the nono inside the calabash.
Fura da nono is a staple dish made of Fulani across West Africa. It is a combination of millet balls mashed into fermented cow milk. It is sold locally by Fulani women who are usually seen with a large calabash of it balanced on their head, unaccompanied and unsupported by their hands. They hawk it from house to house, or sometimes just camp under a tree in a residential area where passersby could see and patronize them. They are mostly seen in northern Nigerian states.
Nono is made out of fermented cow milk. The process involves extracting it from the fermented milk after it has been separated from its lipid component known as man shanu (cow oil).
The man shanu itself is not discarded after this separation is done. In fact, it is another favorite used by the Fulani and other northern Nigerian ethnic groups to eat almost every imaginable kind of food. Sometimes it is heated before use, other times it is used directly in its settled form.
The fura is made of ground millet grains, which are first washed and then dried. After which it undergoes a series of pasting with water, pounding, moulding, another round of pounding, cooking, more pounding, and more moulding. Because of the complicated process, it is not very widely made in homes. It is mostly bought from the Fulani, whose delicacy it is.
Fura balls are dropped into a small calabash of Nono and then meshed into tiny lumps. Sugar is then sprinkled on it. This is the ideal and traditional combination. However, some Nigerians prefer to buy only the Fura and then mash it into processed yoghurts or even pap.
Fura da nono is best served cold.