You ask, ‘What is gari?’. It still to this day astounds me that this one root vegetable can be prepared in so many different ways and thus taking on a different form, creating an entirely different dish. Each form tasting so different by solely just boiling, drying, grating, frying, mashing or pounding it and you have such different accompaniments to a dish! I’m referring to cassava here.
I remember growing up I used to hate it as my Grandma would boil it to death, as she also did with yams, until the whole house was filled with the smell. I swear sometimes I could smell it halfway up the road but I am not sure if the smell just lingered in my nose – I think I mentioned this in another post. But I did love cassava as a child, not really knowing that the gari simply served to me with condensed milk (so good!) is made from grated cassava that is then dried out, expelling all of its water, sieved and parched dry.
Returning from my holiday in Liberia this January, I was clearly not leaving without a hoard of goodies, and trying to pretend I was still on holiday I whipped up a tropical sunny salad topped with gari.
Mango salad – blah. Mango with my spicy scotch bonnet dressing, red onion, some avocado (or butter pear as we call it) and a sprinkling of gari – plate licking good!
Serves 10 as a side dish or a starter
The prep. part
450g mango (nearly ripe, so still firm), do not peel
½ medium red onion
2 tbsp gari (available in many UK supermarkets but definitely Tesco)
2 tsp cider vinegar
½ juice of a lime
2 tsps granulated white sugar
1 tsp scotch bonnet
100ml rapeseed oil
The assembling part
- Place all the dressing ingredients into a jar and shake. Set aside.
- Rinse the mango and julienne, with the skin kept on, on a mandolin and place in a bowl.
- Rinse the cucumber and use a peeler to create ribbons and add to the bowl.
- Thinly slice the red onion and add to the bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and toss.
- Slice the avocado lengthways and place in a salad bowl, top with the salad that has been dressed and sprinkle with gari.