If this is your first time of hearing/seeing this type of food, you probably might be pondering what garri is. So, what is Garri? Garri is classified as a starchy or carbohydrate food obtained from processing raw cassava or yucca. Learn more about cassava here. Garri is a popular West African food, although it can be purchased from African shops in the Western world. But in the absence of any, one can comfortably process garri from his/her kitchen. So read this post till the end to learn how you can process garri. Garri is also referred to as garium sulphate, gari, poi, garry, farofa or tapioca. Basically, garri is processed by milling/blending, sieving, fermenting and stir-frying cassava roots. Garri can be white or yellow in appearance. There are three forms of garri namely: fine, medium and coarse. This is hugely dependent on how the cassava tubers are milled/blended, sieved and fried. To obtain a white garri, the cassava grits are fried plain. However, to obtain a yellow garri, red palm oil is mixed with cassava cake before sieveing and frying. It might interest you to know that cassava contains a high amount of Hydrocyanic acid (cyanide), hence the need to allow it to undergo fermentation. Fermentation process eradicates the cyanide in cassava thus, it is an important process that must not be neglected.
Steps for processing cassava into garri
Step 1: Harvested cassava tubers are first sorted, cleaned, cut, peeled and thoroughly washed.
Step 2: The cassava roots are then milled or blended into a smooth paste.
Step 3: Add the cassava paste in a mesh cloth, porous jute bag or sieve cloth then squeeze to drain water. The cassava can be pressed under heavy weights for 3 days. This allows the moisture in the cassava to be completely drained off while the cassava is undergoing fermentation. Fermentation eradicates the hydrocyanic acid (HCN) found in the cassava roots. Do not allow the cassava to ferment for too long so as to avoid giving the garri a strong sour taste.
Step 4: The fermented cassava cake is then sieved or sifted into grits. For yellow garri, mix red palm oil with cassava granules or cake before sifting it into grits.
Step 5: Stir-fry the cassava grits to yield edible garri. To fry garri, add some quantity of garri in a frying pan, turn on the heat to the lowest level. This is to prevent the garri from charring. Then continue stirring the garri to prevent it from becoming clumpy until the garri is less clumpy and almost dried. Increase the heat and continue stirring and frying until the garri is dry and crispy. At this point, the garri is ready for evacuation from the fryer.
Step 6: Scoop out the garri from the fryer into a flat surface, spread out the garri and allow it to cool down.
Step 7: Pack the garri in a sack and store in a cool dry place. Due to the hygroscopic nature of garri, it is highly recommended to pack garri in a moisture-proof bag. Garri must be stored in a moist-free environment to prevent mould growth. Properly processed garri can be stored for up to 6 months or more.
Uses of garri
1. Garri can be consumed as it is.
2. Garri can be mixed and stirred in hot water to form a soft paste called eba. Eba can be served with any soup of choice such as egusi soup, okra soup, efo riro soup etc.
3. Garri can be mixed with cold water, milk, sugar, coconut, palm kernel nuts or peanuts and consumed as a meal. Soaked garri can be served with porridge beans.