Gari One-Pot

Gari Foto

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    6

    servings

Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

Gari, made from soaked, fermented, and dried cassava roots, is a converneience food reminiscent of couscous. Gari Foto is a satisfying one-pot dish that is easy to prepare and inexpensive. Gari Foto combines scrambled eggs, a basic Ghanaian tomato gravy, a protein source such as leftover meat, fish, or canned meat like the corned beef used here, and gari. It was originally viewed as a quick end-of-the-week recipe to be made with leftovers. Barbara was largely responsible for popularizing Gari Foto as a respectable “company dish” via her television cooking shows in the 1960s and by serving it at her restaurant. Today it may be served to guests, or as a family-friendly quick meal.

Ingredients

  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups dry gari
  • 6 tablespoons peanut or other vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons red palm oil (or other vegetable oil if not available)
  • ½ tin (6 ounces) canned corned beef (don’t use any other type of corned beef)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (peeled and seeded, if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon dried ground red pepper

Method

Directions

  1. Measure out ¾ cup of water and add ¼ teaspoon salt. Put the gari in a bowl and gradually sprinkle the water over the gari a tablespoon at a time, mixing it in using your fingers to judge how damp it is. Use up to 8 tablespoons. The gari should be dampened, but not thoroughly wet. If it still seems dry, add a little more of the water.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut or other oil in a large heavy skillet on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the chopped onion to the hot oil and sauté for a minute. Pour in the beaten eggs and scramble. When cooked, turn them out of the pan onto a plate and set aside.
  3. After removing the eggs from the pan, add 2 tablespoons red palm oil and 5 tablespoons of peanut or other oil to the skillet and heat on medium.
  4. When the oil in the pan is hot, add remainder of the chopped onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the corned beef (it will break up as it cooks).
  5. After a minute, add the garlic, tomatoes, ginger, and dried ground red pepper and stir well.
  6. Cut up the scrambled eggs and add to the stew.
  7. Turn the heat to low and mix in the moistened gari, using a fork or your fingers to break up any lumps of gari. Keep stirring until the stew saturates the gari and there are no dry lumps of the gari. Taste and add salt if needed.

To serve

Garnish the finished dish as desired (e.g., using any combination of decorative egg strips, sliced peppers, onions, tomatoes, parsley, etc.). Gari Foto may be eaten alone or with a vegetable side dish, with a pepper sauce, or with a red bean stew. It is normally mildly spiced, and may be served warm or at room temperature. Leftovers heat up nicely in a microwave.

Variations

  • Substitute canned tomatoes for the fresh tomatoes.
  • Substitute 1 cup of any leftover meat, fish, or poultry cut in chunks for the corned beef.
  • Substitute ½ teaspoon dried ground ginger for the fresh ginger.
  • Add minced fresh chili pepper, keeping the spiciness mild (pepper heat chart).
  • Stir in 2 teaspoons dried ground shrimp with the other seasonings.