Did you know that Garri is Gluten free? Oh yes it is. As wonderful as our food is, we have to admit, that we have to be able to sell it in a way people who didn’t grow up with it can relate to it, and one of the sure fire ways to do that, is to say two magical words, “gluten free”. Yes, no joke, garri is a gluten free flour made from cassava. It can also be found in Brazilian and Jamaican cooking. Now, imagine saying those words at a presentation to people who haven’t tasted Nigerian food before. You will have them jumping over themselves to buy it.
So, when I tested that with my people at work, while eating garri and groundnut at my desk, you can imagine the positive feedback. Since then, I had been thinking of how else to work with garri. I mean making it with hot water for Eba, or with cold water as a cereal is as old as time. We also tried making garri cake in boarding school. So, I wanted to push myself. When something gnaws at me, for a while it starts to irritate me, but they say when your need is greatest, help is nearest to you. On my normal drive to the supermarket, I drove past a KFC billboard, and then it hit me. I was coming to a traffic light, so i was slowing down anyway, but when it hit me, I braked hard. Instead of using flour as a coating, why don’t I use garri? For the first 2 minutes at that traffic light, I kept pondering, should I use the garri as it is or mill it into a flour. The ping pong of mill it, don’t mill it, mill it, don’t mill it kept moving through my head, and when the light changed to green, I still wasn’t sure.
Being at home ill, has helped me focus my thoughts a little bit and last week I gathered fresh prawns, chicken and chunky pieces of fish and said what the heck, try it. I chose to use three types of protein, because I wanted to see how garri would complement the textures and flavours. The next thing is to try this vegetarian, with Yam, plantain, and dense vegetables!!!!
My first batch was lovely, but I didn’t get that signature KFC like coating. Quite disappointing, but I refused to give up. I didn’t get a chance to try it again because Funmi kindly made me dinner. It was a good thing, because I found a solution without pulling my hair out. Where did the solution come from????? My Kitchen Rules. Call me boring, but I watch a loooooooot of cooking shows. Especially the cooking competitions showcasing home cooks. There is so much you can learn from them, compared to professional TV Chefs. On one episode, someone named Will was making Scotch eggs. Normally you dip the scotch egg in whisked eggs, roll in flour and fry, but Will said, to get even more coating, do the process twice. Yes, people, that is what I did, and BOOM!!!!!!!! It worked. Even my cough laden body was jumping for joy. You can be fooled, that it was made from flour. It looks like it, gosh the crunch was like music to my ears, and then just at the back of your mouth, you get a tinge of sourness. The experience is magical I tell you, and GLUTEN FREE too. Yaaaaaaaay. Let’s Cook
- Chicken, fish, prawns - or go vegetarian
- Ijebu Garri
- Uziza powder
- Ground Cameroon Pepper
- Stock Cubes
- Red Chillies
- Spring Onions
- Vegetable oil
- The first thing you do is marinade your proteins. For that I used 1 teaspoon of ground uziza, cameroon pepper, salt and 1 stock cube.
- I added a little oil, grated ginger, chopped red chillies and spring onions. The aroma is INSANE!!!!! Place in the fridge to marinade for at least 30 minutes.
- In the bowl of garri, sprinkle a little uziza powder, cameroon pepper, and salt, just to season it.
- Set up a work station of beaten eggs in one bowl and garri in another.
- Now, you have both bowls set up, heat up oil, enough to deep fry. You can make the healthy version by baking it. This was my first try, so I was going to deep fry first.
- Dip your protein into the beaten eggs, let excess drip off, and then dip into the bowl of garri. Now, repeat the process. I found that the double dipping, ensured that you got a properly well defined crust.
- Shake off any excess garri from the second dipping and then deep fry.
- Repeat the process until you have exhausted all your protein or veg
I hope you will be trying this. After all, the Americans especially those from the South have their Fried Chicken, here’s Nigeria’s response. Garri Fried Chicken