Igbo Culture | Igbo Language

How To Prepare Garri From Cassava Tubers

Guest Author: Onyeagba Joseph Chinonye

The overall process to prepare garri is as following:
flow to prepare garri
Garri is a carbohydrate based food consumed in many West African countries, Nigeria and Igboland in particular. Processed from Cassava (akpu), Garri in its raw form is creamy-white or light-yellowish flour with a slightly fermented flavor.

The two main varieties of Garri are:
1.The "White" Garri
the white Garri

2. The "Yellow" Garri

Essentially, both varieties of Garri have the similar processing methods; the yellow color can be achieved simply by adding a few drops of palm-oil (mmanu nri) to the cassava flour during the frying/drying stage.
To produce Garri from cassava tubers, the following are required:

1.Cassava tubers (apku): Harvested from farms and must be used within seventy-two (72) hours.

2.Kitchen knife (mma): Will be used to peel off back of the cassava and cut them into smaller sizes.

3.Water (mmiri): To achieve maximum hygiene, water would be required to wash the peeled cassava tubers as many times as possible. After thorough washing, the cassava tubers are packed into sack(s), bowls or a wheel  barrow for easy transportation to the cassava mill.

4. At cassava mill: At the mill, the washed cassava would be grinded, packed into sacks and drilled to dryness (fermentation occurs at this stage).
A typical Garri mill in Igboland

A cassava grinding machine

A mill attendant

5.Sieve (nyo): Required to sieve off the fine cassava powder from the other constituent particles.

A woman demonstrating how to use the sieve

6. Frying pan (agbada): Required to fry the fine cassava powder until it is dry.

Demonstrating how to use the frying pan.

7. Firewood (nku): A source of heat.
8. Sacks (akpa): Will be used to pack the dry cassava powder (Garri).
9. Palm-oil (mmanu nri) - optional: Can be added to the fine cassava powder at the frying stage if a “yellow” Garri is desired.

Garri can be served in two prominent forms:

i. Utara

ii. Soaked

Preparation Process:
Utara: A reasonable quantity of Garri is added little-by-little into a bowl of boiled water until the mixture becomes saturated. A wooden stick(eku) is used to stir the content of the bowl until it is even.
Serve the Utara with any native Igbo soup in different dishes.

Soaked: A reasonable amount of Garri is poured into a hollow plate or cup of clean water and allowed to soak for about thirty (30) seconds. The soaked Garri can be served with groundnut seeds(opapa), dried meat(anu nkpo) or bean cake(moi-moi/akara) with a little amount of sweetener if desired.

Beside Rice(osipaka), Garri is arguably the most consumed food in Igbo land; hence, its nickname “The common-man’s food”.