I don’t know if everybody knows this popular Nigerian snack. You may be aware of it, but don’t know that it is called Gurudi. Some people also call it Gurundi. To refresh your memory a little bit, I will ask you to remember the UAC snack Funtime Coconut Chips. UAC is the company that also produces Gala, the nation’s most popular snack. Gala probably played a significant part of all of our childhoods if you were brought up in Nigeria. Funtime Coconut chips as a part of the UAC family, was mostly sold alongside Gala, whether hawked on the streets or sold in small roadside shops or big stores. Funtime Coconut chips was dark brown, hard, crunchy and very sweet. Kids loved it, adults loved it. Its unmistakable crunch plus the taste of coconut and caramelised sugar was a winner. You could go through packets and packets of the stuff without realising how much you have actually eaten. I remember it was not as expensive as Gala, so it was a good trade-off.
I haven’t thought about Gurudi in like forever. It is one of those memories that just stays locked in your head until someone triggers it, which is what happened last week. On my favourite Favourite group, one of the Admins Kemi A.K asked me if I had the recipe for Gurudi, and if I did, I should be prepared to be stalked. Lol. I didn’t have the recipe, but I remembered an old Aunty who used to make it alongside Kokoro, which is another crunchy Nigerian snack that I am going to be trying out this weekend. I hadn’t spoken to this Aunty this year at all, so I knew I can’t even look to her for help. I couldn’t imagine myself calling and saying “Hello Aunty, this is Ola, how are you? You know that your recipe for Gurudi, can I have it? Lol. I don’t know if this is a cultural thing for other people, but where I’m from and my upbringing, you don’t go asking for help from someone you haven’t been in communication with for months, especially a much older person. It is downright rude and unacceptable. If you try it, be prepared to be given a tongue lashing of your life, and your parents will be involved. Lol. So, Google to the rescue. I came across only one recipe (which was totally surprising) and it called for cassava starch. Huh, cassava starch, where in the world will I source that, I don’t even know what it looks like. While thinking about alternatives, I went ahead to grate coconut. A very painful and knuckle grazing experience, I still have the wounds on my fingers to show for it. Lol
I wrote on the Dooney’s Kitchen Facebook page about foodies getting inspiration from everywhere, even the most unlikelihood of things. Well this is one of them. While grating the coconut, I was watching this show, Extreme Cheapskates. I had always seen clips of it, but never sat down to watch it before. I decided to, last Saturday and I experienced a mixture of shock and laughter at some people’s antics to save money. On one of the episodes there was this man who refused to fix his Air conditioning, so to keep cool he sat outside and slathered Corn Starch (corn flour if you live in the UK) all over his body. His reason was that Corn flour absorbs moisture, so it keeps him cool. At that point my head started buzzing. OMG, corn flour can actually work. Gurudi is hard and has no moisture in it, Corn flour should give the same results in place of Cassava starch. I was suddenly really excited. So, here is my experiment. Prepare to laugh some more, it truly was an experiment. Sorry I didn’t measure anything, I simply winged it because I wasn’t sure if it will work, so these are approximated weights.
You will need
1 cup of Corn Flour
1/2 cup of Desiccated coconut
I already had grated coconut at home. On getting to the store and picking up corn flour, I had this strong urge to pick up desiccated coconut. Thank goodness I did. You will soon see why.
1/3 of caster sugar – you can use fine granulated sugar, or simply grind regular sugar in a mill to make the granules finer
You can introduce additional depths of flavour by adding vanilla, nutmeg and chilli powder. A combination of all three, or pick one or two.
Caveat: at this stage, I had no idea what I was doing. Lol. Prior to Sunday, I had never used corn flour before. I have seen it in recipes and heard about it on cooking shows. I experienced a moment of doubt, when I picked it up from the shelf and saw – “used for sauces and gravy” on the packet. I thought to myself, Gurudi has nothing to do with this. Nevertheless, I picked it up. Thanks to Mr Extreme Cheapskate.
1. Combine the three ingredients in a bowl. Add water slowly until it forms a dough. Apparently, corn flour does not behave like other kinds of flour. It has more starch in it, so the dough will be stretchy and elastic. Each time you bring it together and release, it will bounce back to spread around the bowl.
2. The dough will be wet to your hands and slightly sticky. I used roughly 1/2 cup of water. After fighting with the dough and giving up, I got out the baking tray and emptied the dough unto it. As expected, it spread out on its own. I tipped the tray slightly for gravity to assist and it spread out even more. I tried to cut it out into squares, with a knife, but the gaps closed in on itself after 2 seconds, so I gave up and whacked it in the oven.
3. As a last-minute decision, I sprinkled extra sugar on top of the dough, placed the tray in the oven and turned the dial to 250 C.
While the tray was in the oven, I kept saying to myself, this won’t work, this won’t work. I didn’t use Cassava starch, hmmmn. Then I remembered Tapioca. It is made with Cassava too isn’t it? I rushed to the cupboard, picked up the Tapioca and was patting myself on the back. This is about to change, continue reading. I used desiccated coconut with the corn flour, as I did not want to waste it in case it didn’t turn out well. All the pain and effort to grate. With Tapioca, I had more “confidence” in the recipe, so I used grated coconut. Ha!
1. I sifted the Tapioca to get finer granules. I used 1 cup of it. I added 3/4 of a cup of grated coconut and 1/2 a cup of sugar. On adding water to combine, this is what I ended up with. Lol
2. I had started squeezing my nose at this point. AGAIN!! This even looked worse than the corn flour. I can’t mould this into biscuits, it is too soft. Out of desperation, I added corn flour to thicken the mixture, which it did, but not by much. I took out bits of the mixture and tried to mould into squares but it didn’t hold up. I ended up with more oval looking shapes.
Frustration was setting in at this point. Lol
By now, the content of the tray in the oven had started turning brown at the edges. It smelled like Gurudi but it didn’t look like Gurudi. I let it continue baking until it started smelling burnt, so I took it out of the oven. I forgot to oil the baking tray, so it was a battle to get it out, as the dough had hardened. Using a knife, I was able to break it apart and lift it off. On tasting it, it tasted like Gurudi but it was slightly soft and not particularly crunchy. Some bits were white, some were brown and almost burnt. I placed on the window sill and faced Experiment 2.
Still having some hope with my Tapioca mixture, why I don’t know because it looked weird. I placed the moulded shapes on the tray and put in the oven. Ha! hope indeed. What came out of the oven was laughable and I was pissed. Two trials, wasted energy and resources and nothing.
I went back to the results of Experiment 1 which at least smelled and tasted like Gurudi (though not hard and crunchy) and I was stopped dead in my tracks. With exposure to air, it had HARDENED. It snapped like Gurudi, it was very crunchy like Gurudi and it TASTED EXACTLY like Funtime Coconut chips. It even had the same rough texture to touch. OMG, OMG, OMG, I DID IT. Pardon me, but I will like to show off the pictures, so you can truly see the results.
As you can imagine, I was no longer upset with Experiment 2. I eyed it and threw it into the bin with glee.
Yes, I still don’t know how UAC cuts it into squares and some other ingredients are likely to be involved, as it is mass-produced, but I couldn’t care less. It looks and tastes like Gurudi, that is what I am most concerned about. On further thought, these are the additional steps I will try next time, and you should too when you make this
- Oil the baking tray so as to get the chips off easily.
- Bake at a higher temperature, at the beginning and when the edges start to brown, lower the heat so it can brown evenly without burning.
- While the dough is still hot from the oven, it will be malleable, so cut with a sharp knife or a pizza cutter into whatever shape you wish and take it out of the tray.
- Expose it to air and it will harden
……….and you’ll have your delicious Gurudi. Prepping for the oven should take less than 3 minutes. It is a really quick process that produces delicious nostalgic memories. My Nigerian colleagues sure loved it and I will be making it again.
I really should patent this recipe, come to think of it. It will soon start popping up everywhere. You guys know you saw it from Dooney’s Kitchen first. Lol. Thank you Kemi A.K for challenging me. I am also pretty pleased this made you smile on a day you really needed to. This recipe is for you, and for everyone else who remembers Gurudi. I hope it awakens wonderful memories and brings lovely smiles to your face and your family. If you have never tried Gurudi, don’t miss out on the fun.