Taste of Africa, which will help more than 20 West African companies connect to buyers across the U.S. in this year's Fancy Food Show in Washington, DC - July 10-12. Funded through USAID's West Africa Trade Hub and Southern Africa Global Competitiveness Hub, the Association Africa Agro-Export and other partners.
Gari, a fine, coarse granular flour of varying textures, is made from the grated cassava tuber. A staple in West African cuisine, gari is comparable in importance to potato or wheat flour in Western countries. Versatile and satisfying, gari is eaten daily as a snack, with vegetables soups or stews, and meat or fish by millions of people worldwide. Gari can be combined with coconut, akara (bean cakes), smoked fish, peanuts, vegetables or even sweetened with a little sugar and evaported milk. It is said that you cannot claim to have eaten West African food if you haven't eaten gari. So, since the month of June is dedicated to cooking and eating West African dishes, gari it is!
West African Trade Hub, Business Development Coordinator, based in Senegal) for sharing this traditional West African recipe of Gari Foto (pronounced "fotor" in the Ghanaian language of Twi). Gari Foto is one of the most popular dishes in West African countries, so for purposes of authenticity, I'm sticking with the traditional ingredients Kafui suggested. If you prefer a vegetarian meal, fish or more vegetables could certainly be added for a lovely protein-packed dish. If you're trying this for the first time and are familiar with polenta, the texture of gari is quite similar.
Officially the Togalese Republic, Togo is bordered by Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso and extends south to the Gulf of Guinea. Blessed with a tropical, sub-Saharan climate and good growing seasons that support agriculture, Togo's primary source of revenue produces a wide variety of produce and staple foods. Although the official language is French, many other languages such as those in the Gbe family are spoken. Like many African countries, Togo endured centuries of slave trade by Europeans who exploited the country and it's people for their own economic gains. Following years of rule by Germans and French, the country finally gained independence from France in 1960.
Cuisine in Togo is a blend of African and French traditions. In general, Togolese cooking is spicy and colorful and consists of poridges, stews, ground maize (pates or akume), rice, fish, meat, spinach, okra, tomatoes, fufu,edeme, onions, plantains and cassava. Groundnut, goat, palm oil and smoked fish are also enjoyed.
Gari Foto with Corned Beef
(Epsilon, West African Exporter of gari, cassava and corn starch, soya oil, soya oil cake, pineapple and mango fruit juice)
1 large onion, chopped
2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 pound fresh corned beef, finely chopped (canned can be substituted)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups of gari
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh crushed ginger (or 1/2 tsp. dried ground ginger)
1 Tbsp. fresh parley, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped or crushed
1 sweet pepper, chopped.
1 medium sized carrot, chopped
1 spring onion, chopped
Fresh crisp lettuce, shredded
Pour gari into a clean bowl. Add salt to water and sprinkle over gari while mixing it with a rubber spatula or spoon until gari is evenly moistened. Cover and set aside while you prepare sauce.
Heat oil in a pan. Fry tomato paste for 5 minutes. Add chopped onion, crushed garlic, ginger, pepper and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Add corned beef and allow to cook for 10 minutes Add salt and other spices to taste.
Stir-fry chopped spring onion, sweet pepper and carrots in a teaspoon of oil. Whisk in beaten eggs and scramble for 3 minutes.
Mix gari evenly with corned beef mixture until it completely blended with not lumps. If the mixture seems a little too thick, add water gradually as needed until the stew reaches the desired consistency.
Mix in vegetable/egg stir-fry and garnish with shredded lettuce.
Serve with corned beef sauce or hot pepper sauce and a side of fried plantains.
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