Certain people view this garri soaking as a poor person’s meal. Those people need their heads examined or update their mindset. We believe this is a rich person’s food because of its simplicity, affordability, nutritional values; basically, garri benefits is plenty. Do you know how to eat gari? This dish is simple and a nutritious in-between snack we love to eat when our old-ma (mother) is taking too long to cook dinner. Heck, some people eat it as garri drink. Could it be the Nigerians, Liberians, or Ghanaians? We are not beefing just soaking gari; one of the best west African food. Get a taste of three African countries that share a common food, gari.
Well, you are wondering what Garri is, how it is prepared, eaten, and most certainly its benefits.
What is Garri or Gari?
Gari is dried cassava that is ground into grainy texture. Note, gari is sometimes spelled Garri depending on the country. This beloved West African food is a staple product. People love it for many reasons, some of which are practical, nutritional, and affordability. We love it so much our beloved Gari yorkor recipe speaks for itself.
What does gari taste like?
What is the feel of gari on the tongue, you must wonder? Well, the taste of garri may vary depending on the degree of fermentation. Basically, this concerns how long the cassava mash is left to ferment. In this respect, therefore, the longer the fermentation period, the sour garri will taste. On the other hand, fewer days of fermentation results in somewhat sweet garri.
Different types of Garri
Garri with high starch content is good for preparing “swallow dishes”. On the contrary, garri with low starch quantity is best for making vegetables or soakings. Indeed, the taste of garri varies from type to type. For example, Ijebu Garri has a highly acidic taste. This is as a result of a longer fermentation period (5-7 days). As a matter of fact, the taste of garri is the basis of judging its quality in most West African countries. It is more valued if it has a pleasantly sour taste. As such, most people often add some sugar or honey to garri to make it taste a bit sweeter. Salt is added to enhance its taste even more. This is because, on its own, garri lacks much flavor. However, you get a fuller taste by adding those sweeteners.
Gari Cultural Perspectives
Eating this west African food takes different forms and has different ways of consumption. Since we focus on soaking Garri, the process given is specific to it. In Nigeria, the citizens call it “Soaking garri.” This is because it is eaten in a simple way by just soaking the garri in water with other ingredients of your choice.
How do Nigerians eat this West African food?
Certainly, Nigerians love good nutritional foods like many other Africans but how they eat gari is different. Or, is it? Traditionally, Nigerians eat garri communally by using their hands. Typically, therefore, Nigerians roll a small amount of garri into their hand and dip into accompanying soup. Interestingly, you can easily practice this trick with different flour-based foods such as yam flour or semolina. Given that garri is naturally sticky, it is better to dip your fingers in water before eating. Garri or Eba is served with a variety of Nigerian soups. There are lots of ways by which Nigerians eat their Garri.
Across West Africa, garri soakings are eaten as a cereal mixed with cold water, sweeteners and crunchy additions. Generally, soaked garri does not require any further cooking. Nigerians just consume it as a snack from a bowl mixed with cold water, sugar, and milk . A popular saying in Nigeria goes that if you never had soaked garri, then you have never been in boarding school. This is because Nigerian borders consider garri as a lifesaver.
In fact, soaked Garri is popular among most Nigerian homes for a reason. This is because soaked garri can combine well with various Nigerian dishes.
- Fish, groundnuts and coconuts
- Milk, cashew nuts, sugar and corned beef moi moi
- Bananas and other sweeteners
- Crunchy chin chin and milk
- Avocado pear, groundnut, and milk
- Cassava flakes with akara balls
- Beans porridge
Do Ghanaians Eat it as a Drink?
Garri Drink is eaten differently in Ghana. Let us find out how Ghanaians eat gari. Indeed, Ghanaians often love to take garri as a drink. This is especially popular with Ghanaian students. Consequently, most Ghanaians make garri drink by adding excess water, milk, groundnuts, sugar, or honey.
Why do Liberians add mayo to Gari Soaking?
Fun fact, did you know Liberians say “soaking” to mean beating. When a Liberian says, “I will soak you”, run! Now you know yah. Back to gari soaking, why do Liberians do that since it seems weird? To their credit, mayonnaise adds another layer of creaminess and good flavor to food. What seems like a bizarre combo is actually very tasty. Certain clever Liberians added mayonnaise when there is no milk which in fact adds another layer of flavor to the snack.
Unlike Ghanaians, Liberians do not like excess water in their gari soaking because excess water is viewed as cheating them from getting the real deal, which is plenty gari.
Despite it being a widely accepted food by Nigerians, Ghanaians and Liberians populace, many are unaware of the benefits of Garri. Below are some of the benefits of eating dried garri as soaking:
- It energizes the body
- Aids Digestion
- Enhances the Immune System
Also, Garri is gluten-free. As a result, people who are gluten sensitive can eat garri. Research shows, foods containing gluten irritate their intestines and, in most cases, cause damage to their small intestine. I have not experienced any side effects from eating garri and cannot speak to those symptoms.
Enlisting these garri benefits, it appears cassava is one of the best undercover staple product. We eat Garri soaking for breakfast, dessert and lunch. Can you say versatile? Speaking personally, I still think it is weirdly strange that some people put biscuit in it. Oya, yes I’m judging and you can judge me too since I love mayonnaise with Gari or Garri. Let us know how you enjoyed eating gari. Did you try to take gari as a drink? Comment below what additions you add to your garri?
- Desired amount of Gari (Ground Yuca)
- Desired amount of Sweetener (Sugar, Agave, honey, Syrup)
- Plant Milk (Not powder)
- Desire amount of Roasted Peanuts
- specified amount of Mayonnaise (optional)
- Desired amount of Water
- Pour some garri in a bowl
- Add water such that it rises way above the level of Garri in the bowl.
- Some people like to sieve the floating particles, while some do not really care. But it is advisable to, as you it might help you get rid of some dirt.
- After sieving, add more water (preferably cold water) and other things you would like to enjoy it. Some of the common goodies added are sugar, groundnut, milk, and kulikuli (a local snack made from peanut).
- Enjoy your garri.