The undefeated OG munchies for garri is groundnuts, but you can have more.
It is almost next to impossible to come across a Nigerian that hasn’t eaten garri because it is practically our food identity, much like American’s cheeseburgers and the Japanese Sushi. Growing up in a Nigerian home, you’re bound to eat it in either of its two most commonly prepared forms: swallow (eba), or as a cereal (soakies). The latter is what we’re focusing on today.
Most of us have all come to appreciate the joy of drinking garri: if not for any reason, for the mere fact that it is the fastest fast food. You can hold hunger with it, have it as an in-between-meals snack or enjoy it as a relaxation food. And the beauty of it is it doesn’t need much to enjoy it. You can take it plain or with just sugar, salt or both.
When adding extras to garri, the options usually revolve around the same choices; groundnuts, coconut, fish, fried meat, chicken, milk etc. Now, these are great but there are many more ways to pair your garri with munchies.
Here are five new options that delightfully surprised my taste buds when I discovered them:
1. FRIED SHRIMPS
Shrimp goes for virtually anything (except giant shrimps in okro soup; that’s a travesty in my book) so this shouldn’t be a shocker. But if you’re just trying it out, then I bet you, it will be. There’s something about fried crayfish and shrimp that just blends with the taste of soaked garri. Perhaps it’s the crunchy feel or the juicy pulp but whichever it is, it’s an exotic treat.
2. DATE PALMS
Growing up up with a Muslim father, I’ve always had a soft spot for date palms. So, it’s no surprise that at some point, I would take it with garri. The real surprise came when I suggested it to some friends. The reaction on their faces when they took that first spoonful is gold. Date palms are super sweet, so you don’t even need sugar when you break them in your garri.
3. MIXED NUTS
Tired of the regular groundnuts? Want something new but cannot decide? Then, have it all with mixed nuts! I discovered this option back in my days working as a steward when my boss gave me a bottle as a gift. The best thing about this option is you get different tastes merging into one in your mouth. It is to be expected though, since there’s up to six different nuts in there; almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, peanuts and hazelnuts.
4. PEANUT BURGERS
But you might feel bored with it from time to time and wish for some way to vamp up your groundnut-garri combo. Well, say hello to peanut burgers! Whoever though up the idea to coat groundnuts in flour and fry them is a genius worthy of the Nobel Prize! These munchy-crunchy little bits of paradise give garri such a kick, you’ll see stars!
5. CHOCOLATE CHIPS
Chocolates are rich in taste and nutrients and surprisingly go very well with garri. What I do is buy a bunch of my favorite chocolate bars, break them into smaller bits and pour them in my garri. Next, I add iced water and sometimes, a bit of sugar and stir. Then, I relax on the couch and gently savor this experimental success as I re-watch episodes of HIMYM.
If you’re a true-born Nigerian, then you’re either current garri addict or still smitten by the nostalgia of the comforting taste of garri. So, why not bump that feeling up a notch with any of the suggestions above? Also, don’t be scared to try out your own ideas because you might end up creating something great and worthy of sharing. So, keep that curious mind alive!
Alaric Bane is a writer, web-content creator, Natural Science teacher and self-taught cook. He writes scripts, product descriptions, synopses, outlines and articles for a living. Bane is also an amateur actor and sketch artist.