What is Garri?/ Recipes/ Garri and Soup/ Ijebu Garri/ Best Brand/ Price / Is Garri healthy?
Garri is a white or yellow (when oil is applied) colored pasta made from dried and fried cassava. The couscous-like food is one of the most popular staple foods across West Africa. It is widely consumed across Nigeria. It is made from cassava root. Presently, garri popularly known as eba throughout Nigeria is seen as the best match for most local soups due to its affordability and availability. So in this post, we will analyse its origin and names, how to make and eat (recipes), as well as the nutritional benefits and possible side effects of eating the food.
Origin of Garri
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As stated above, garri is processed from cassava. According to reputable sources, cassava is not native to Africa. The crop can be traced to South America, and was introduced to the continent by the early European explorers.
In spite of not originating from Africa, the food has over the years assumed an indispensable role in the diet of Africans. In Nigeria, garri is believed to originate from the Hausa language. However, a more careful examination reveals that almost every tribe where the food is eaten has either adopted the term, or localized the food with a native name.
Names of Garri
In the first place, garri is not a British food. Hence, it doesn’t have an original English name. However, it is popularly referred to as cassava flakes, fried tapioca or cassava flour.
In the Nigerian setting, garri is generally referred to as “eba”.
Garri Recipes: How to Make Garri
Before being set for consumption, Garri passes through a few processes. Note that processing the product can either be done manually or mechanically. Practically, the process involves the following steps:
- Harvesting the fresh cassava. This can be done manually, or with a harvester. It involves digging up the cassava stems to reveal the mature roots. The harvest is afterwards ferried to the processing site or house.
- Resizing and peeling. Peeling off the back of the cassava tubers is important because the brownish or dark colored peel may not be needed. On the other hand, resizing is optional, and done for ease and convenience.
- Cleaning. This is very important because you don’t want to mess with your hygiene. Just bear it in mind that this is just the first and last chance to wash. After now, there is little one can do.
- Crushing / milling. This stage determines how fine the particles and texture of the garri will be. Be sure to do it well. This is because finer texture is always prefered.
- Dehydration and removal of excess water. Garri is expected to be dried. Meanwhile cassava is known to possess a high liquid content. All that is needed is to press the excess water out.
- Sieving. Here you manually screen foreign particles from your dried cassava flour. Only the desired grits pass through the sieve. The other fibrous contents may be disposed off as chaff.
- Frying. This requires having some level of expertise. Frying a little too much or less may mean ruining the entire process. Meanwhile, you may add palm oil if you desire red garri. Otherwise, you may leave it white.
- Storage. How you preserve the commodity is determined by the quantity, and your desired length of storage time.
How it is eaten
There are many ways of consuming garri. However, two of the most popular ways include sipping (drinking) with fresh water, and swallowing with soup. Drinking garri is done by pouring the required amount of garri into a bowl, adding fresh water and any other desired condiment like sweeteners, groundnuts and fishes. Your meal is ready. This may not be the healthiest way to consume the food.
Making it into a swallow is probably the most encouraged and practiced. To achieve this however, boiled water is key. Just mix your desired amount of dry garri with the boiled water. Stir to get what you want. It is consumed with local delicacies like stew and soup.
Nutritional Benefits and Effects
Garri is generally rich in vitamins, carbohydrates (starch) as well as fat and oil. It has other valuable nutrients that are very beneficial to health. Meanwhile, let’s see the benefits in layman’s terms.
Garri is rich in fibre which is helps in bowel emptying and avoiding stomach cancer. It is said to contain Vitamin A, which is great for the eyes.
On the other hand, garri may pose some health issues if not processed properly. It contains an appreciable amount of hydrocyanic acid which is known to cause eye problems. It is also not a great option for people watching their weight as it contains a good amount of calories.