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Garri – Cassava flour – What you need to know

Garri is one of the staple foods in Nigeria that cuts across all tribes. It is made from processed cassava tuber. Majorly, it is taken as a cereal or made as eba.

What is Garri?

Garri is produced in powder form with fine granules, which doesn’t qualify as grain. Even though it feels like grain when you touch it, it is grain-free. You can either soak it like regular cereal and paired with groundnut (peanuts), cashew nuts, fried fish, coconut, etc. It can also be made into eba as a ”swallow food” with different soups. 

Sweet and Bitter Cassava – Cyanide

Garri is made from cassava tuber. There are two varieties of cassava tubers. The sweet cassava and the bitter cassava.

Cassava contains cyanide which is not safe for consumption in excess so it is necessary to undergo different stages of process to remove the volatile cyanide from cassava before it can be made into garri.

Although the sweet cassava roots can be safely eaten by peeling and thorough cooking because it contains less than 50mg/kg of hydrogen cyanide, the bitter cassava must be processed more thoroughly because of the high cyanide content (up to 400 mg per kilogram).

The process follows a sequence that starts from harvesting the cassava to peeling, washing, grating, fermenting, pressing, sifting, and frying.

How is Garri made?

  • Harvesting and Sorting: After harvesting cassava, sorting needs to be done to separate the good cassava tubers from the bad ones. 
  • Peeling of the Cassava Roots: This can be done by using a knife to take off the skin. This method is often employed by small to medium-scale garri makers. This method can be time-consuming which is why some big manufacturers opt for machines for this work.
  • Wash and clean the cassava root: After peeling, the cassava is then washed to remove all the dirt.
  • Grating and fermentation: The cassava is grated and placed in a sack to ferment. This will help to reduce hydrocyanic acid. Usually, fermentation will take more than one day.
  • Press and sift: The fermented cassava in the sack is then placed under a heavy weight in order to drain any excess water. The weight causes the grated cassava to become a lump. The lump is now broken and sifted to make it finer.
  • Cook: The cooking is done by frying/roasting.
  • Cool and store: Garri is best stored in an airtight container at room temperature and low humidity to prevent mold from growing in it.

Yellow and white garri

While making garri, some people fry it with palm oil while others don’t. The use of palm oil is the reason for different variants. The yellow variety has palm oil while the white variety is plain with nothing added.

How to make soaked garri?

Just like the way you soak your favorite cereal in milk, making soaked garri is quite simple:

  • Get a cup or bowl
  • Pour the garri into the dish until you reach your desired serving
  • Add cold water and milk and mix with a spoon
  • Add sugar or sweetener if desired and enjoy

What can you pair with Soaked Garri?

You can pair soaked garri with milk, peanuts, groundnut, coconut, etc. Also, you can also pair with Moi-Moi, Ewa riro, Akara balls – Black Eyed Peas Fritters, and Fried Fish.

How to make eba?

There are different ways of making eba. You can make eba with a microwave, stovetop, or in a bowl. Any of these methods will work fine. While you use cold water for soaked garri, you need boiled water to make eba.

You can serve your eba with amazing soups like Ogbono soup, Banga Soup, Okro soup, Jute Leaves Soup (Ewedu), Peanut Soup, Egusi Soup, and Spinach Stew (Efo Riro).

What is the Shelf life of garri?

What determines the shelf life of garri is how you process it and how you store it. You should note the following point when you are storing your garri:

  1. A well-processed garri can last up to six months or beyond.
  2. Ensure that you store it in a good dry place.

Other African dishes you will like:

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