Try Ghana's Gari Fortor for Your Next Get-together!
I hope you had a good week?
I always say that although our beloved Gari is genetically different from the North African Couscous, still, they are very similar in habit and texture that within reason, whatever you can do to Couscous, you can do to Gari and that is what I have done in this next dish that I am sharing with you today – Gari Fotor. Gari Fotor is a dish that can be served at Get-togethers. It is made by combining Gari with a made sauce that has been mixed together with vegetables and spices. It can be eaten on its own or with lamb, chicken or fish.
What is Gari and How is it Made?
is the other half of the famous Gari and Beans dish (Yoo K3 Gari) that is sold in many street corners in Ghana. From my own experience, Gari is the number one boarding school food and a home-sick pacifier!
When soaked with salted water, it can be added to Shito and canned sardines in oil or canned mackerel (Tinapa) for a fairly decent meal away from home - the only time you can suspend counting down the school calendar for end of term!
Gari is made by grating cassava, wringing it of excess starch and drying it by dry frying in large wok-like containers. This way, if kept well in cool places and away from smells, they last for a long time and can be eaten in many different forms. It is equally served in high places. I have seen a formal invitation of a state banquet in Ghana which has Gari Fotor as one of the main courses on the buffet menu.
Here is how I made this Gari Fotor with roasted vegetables:
Part 1: For the Roasted Vegetables
You will need:
1/2 large Red Bell Pepper, deseeded and cut into medium square chunks
1/2 large Yellow Bell Pepper, deseeded and cut into medium square chunks
1/2 large Orange Bell Pepper, deseeded and cut into medium square chunks
6 small Aubergines or 2 large ones, thinly sliced
I large Onion, cut into chunks
1 whole Garlic, separated into cloves, skinned
@ 60 ml Virgin Olive Oil or any Cooking Oil
A couple of pinches of Sea Salt for sprinkling
Part 2: For the Gari
You will Need:
50g of fresh yellow Gari or white Gari (I used yellow Gari for this dish but add a 1/4 tsp of Turmeric powder to give white Gari this yellow look if you can’t get yellow Gari)
@ 60 ml of salted water for soaking the Gari
Part 3: For the Gari/Fotor (Gari- Sauce Combo):
You will need:
@ 100ml Cooking Oil
1 large Red Onion, chopped
¼ tsp Turmeric for yellow colour (if using)
2 fresh Scotch Bonnet Peppers or 4 fresh Kpakpo Shito, chopped
1/2 large Red Bell Pepper, deseeded and cut into small square chunks
1/2 large Yellow Bell Pepper, deseeded and cut into small square chunks
1/2 large Orange Bell Pepper, deseeded and cut into small square chunk
1 cube Vegetable Seasoning
2 Carrots, cut into match stick pieces
3 tbs Corriander, chopped (optional) + a few sprigs for garnishing
3 tbs Parsley, chopped (optional) + a few sprigs for garnishing
4 tbs Super Soya Mince (Mutton Flavoured) (Optional)
4 tbs Super Soya Mince (Pepperoni Flavoured (Optional)
A handful of Raisins for garnishing later
This dish has 4 simple parts to complete:
- For part 1: Arrange all the vegetables on an oiled baking tray. Sprinkle the sea salt and drizzle the oil on them and bake in a hot oven at 180 degrees Celcius or Gas Mark 4 for about 15-20 mins or until nicely browned but not burnt. Set aside to cool. When cooled, spoon into a clean glass jar and top with olive oil or any cooking oil and keep in the fridge for use when needed.
- For Part II: Put the Gari in a large deep bowl. Pour the salted water over it and immediately stir with a fork to mix the water into the Gari. Please note the Gari should have a pastry-like consistency and not bound together or soaked. Set aside.
- For Part III: To make the sauce that you are going to mix the Gari with, heat a deep frying pan on medium heat. Add the oil and fry the onions for a couple of minutes, add the Turmeric, peppers and the seasoning. Add the Carrots, Corriander and the Parsley. Fry for a couple of minutes and add the soya mince (if using). Fry until the sauce is done but the peppers are firm. Set aside to cool before mixing with the Gari.
- Divide Parts II and III into 4 equal parts. and mix the Gari with the sauce together until well combined. Adjust the seasoning and garnish with some of the bottled roasted Aubergines and Peppers made earlier. Garnish also with the rest of the Parsley and Corriander reserved earlier. Serve in a Tagine if you have one, for an authentic African look. Sprinkle the raisins on top and serve with any of the meats or fish stated above.
Please note that this dish is vegetarian and the meat can be served or provided separately to those who want it.
Meat suggestion: Serve with roasted Chicken or tender lamb or soft goat meat or baked fish.