Gari constitutes a daily meal to some 150 million people world wide. It is a popular West African food. It could be compared to what potato flour is to the Westerners. It is even more versatile than that. It can be eaten as a snack in cold water on a very hot day, or cooked in hot water to make a dough-like meal called eba or gari foto to eat any of the African vegetable soups. It is a popular Ghanaian, Sierra Leonian and Nigerian food item. You can buy garri any time here
You can not claim to have eaten any West African food without having eaten gari!
It is most widely eaten as Eba. Eba is made by sprinkling gari into a bowl or pot of boiling water and stirred until a dough of garri is formed. You could add more water to the dough and stir to your desired texture. The finished product is called eba.
Eba is served with vegetable soup and fish or meat. In combination, this constitutes a very balanced diet. Before you finish reading this line, a ball of eba has just been swallowed with a heap of delicious African soup somewhere in Africa, Europe, America or Australia… oh how mouth watering!
Even more refreshing is a meal of coconut and garri under the hot tropical sun! Do you like yours with akara (beans cake) or smoked fish? Put a handful of gari into a bowl and add about half a cup of cold or ice water. You may decide to add sugar and or salt. Some even add evaporated milk and eat with smoked fish, beans, peanuts or coconut. This is frequently taken for lunch in many parts of tropical Africa.
In Ghana, Foto Gari and yoo ke garri are popular ways of eating gari.Yoo ke garri is gari with beans. Foto gari is made by making a stew and pouring moistened gari into it.Garri is also used as soup thickener.
Garri is traditionally made at home in Africa. It is increasingly becoming common to produce garri at commercial level using mechanised means.
Made from cassava, the tubers are harvested, peeled, removing the covering, and the white pulp is grated in a garri grinding machine. Before the advent of machines, the cassava is hand grated.
The grated produce is then put into a jute sack and the sack tied. Traditionally, this is left to ferment for three to seven days depending on the type of garri been made. This step is very important, as the fermentation process helps to reduce and detoxify the high cyanide content of cassava.
While still inside the sack, sacks are stacked up on each other, and a wooden board placed below and above the sacks. The wooden boards are tied together with the sacks full of the grated cassava in between. Tension is created by tightening the rope and thus allowing water to run out of the grated cassava being processed.
Usually, by day three, the grated cassava would have lost quite some water and become reasonably dried.
This step is also been by-passed with the use of machines that compress and squeeze water out of the grated cassava.
The water running out is very rich in starch. Collected into a basin and let to sediment, pure raw starch is obtained.
This fermented, and dried grated cassava is now sieved to remove large particles and fibres and the smaller grain-like bits are collected for further processing. This is now fried in a dry large pot. All you do here is put a thick big pot on fire, let the pot get dried, then put in some of the grated cassava and stir it until it becomes crisp. It gives off a pleasant cooked aroma. You must stir this continuously to avoid it getting burnt. The finished cooked or baked product is what is called garri.
There are different types of gari, depending on how it is processed, its grain size and the region of Africa where it is produced.
The Standards Organization of Nigeria classifies gari into:
Garri can also be classified based on fermentation length (days and extent) as well as whether palm oil is added to make it yellow or not. Such classifications includes:
Gari is rich in starch. It also has very high fibre content. Also contains proteins and some essential vitamins.
The high fibre content makes it very filling, and also makes this good in preventing or at least reduces likelihood of constipation and bowel diseases.
You can click and buy gari here and get it delivered to your door at the click of your mouse mouse wherever you are in the UK. Just put in your order here.
You can also get gari to buy in Markets all over West Africa. Out side Africa, garri is sold in most African food markets. You can go to our egusi soup page to see how egusi soup is made and enjoy your garri with egusi soup..
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