Gari Fortor is not a common meal I make at home although its one of my husbands favourites. It was actually common back when I lived with my parents though. My mom would make it every other Sunday afternoon for lunch and I vividly remember how she would top it with fried egg.
Interestingly, now that i think of it, Gari Fortor was also popular in secondary school ( I attended Mfantsiman Girls 😎) but due to our lack of tomatoes, onions and pepper we created our own version by mixing Gari with Shitor ( Black Pepper) and called it Gari-shit . Back then, if you had Shitor in your chop box you were QUEEN with a high chance of surviving school 😅. Gari-shit was bae especially when mixed with sardine and ketchup to create that Gari Fortor effect. Are you remembering your time in school? Salivating huh? It was popular in every secondary school (unless you went to GIS or Lincoln Community School 😜). Such memories.
Gari Fortor is so easy to make but also tricky in getting the right texture. It can easily be a fail or a win. Traditionally, it’s topped with an egg but who’s going to stop me from topping it with a corned beef patty and making a form of burger out of it? No one right? Exactly!
Gari is made from fermented shredded cassava which is then roasted in a large pan over hot coals. The word Fortor is an Ewe word which means ‘mashed up’ so bringing both words together means the mashing of Gari.
You just have to try your hands at my Gari Fortor Burger recipe. What made it more so special was the corned beef patty I made out of canned corned beef. It was a well balanced meal overall. Let’s get right to it then.
This recipe is sufficient as lunch or very early dinner for three adults.
Preparation : 15 mins Difficulty : EASY
Cooking Time: 30mins Serves: 3
2 cups of gari
4 medium-sized tomatoes
1 Tsp organic tomato paste
1 red onion
6 Kpakposhito peppers ( Scotch bonnet pepper)
1 Tsp Tumeric powder
1 Tsp Mixed dry spice ( Rosemary, Thyme)
1/2 cup diced sweet green pepper
1 tsp salt
For the Patty
1 Canned Corned beef
1 Egg yolk
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tsp ground paprika
1 red onion ( chopped into small pieces)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)
1 Tbsp Ketchup
Making the Tomato Sauce
- Process together the tomatoes, onion and Kpakposhito pepper. Set aside
- Place a saucepan on medium-heat fire and add 1/4 cup sunflower oil. Allow oil to heat up.
- Add tomato mix to the oil and stir through.
- The tomato paste goes in next.
- Pour in a cup of water to cook the tomatoes. Cover with lid and allow to cook for 10 minutes after which heat can be lowered for slower cooking.
- Sprinkle numeric and dry spices on as the sauce cooks. Stir through.
- Stir in the diced sweet green pepper after 5 minutes.
- The tomatoes take on a deeper red color as it cooks through and gets closer to being cooked.
- Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
Making the Corned Beef Patty
- Empty the contents of the canned corned beef into a plastic or glass bowl.
- Add in the breadcrumbs, egg yolk (separated from the whites, here’s a video on how to separate a yolk from the whites) , chopped red onion, paprika, dijon mustard and ketchup all at once and mix thoroughly to bind ingredients. If it’s too soggy, pour over some more breadcrumbs.
P.S I had to take this photo with my phone rather quickly 🙈🙈
- Flatten the patties on a chopping board and shapes as you like, whether round or square.
- Heat in a pan, 1/4 cup vegetable oil for shallow frying of the patties.
- Once the pan is hot, use a spatula to slow lift the patty into the oil. Do the same for the rest of the patties. Fry for 5 minutes on one side and same for the other.
Making the Gari Fortor
- By now the sauce has cooled and is ready for the next step.
- Pour gari into a separate bowl and lightly sprinkle water atop it and mix through to give it a fluffy dry texture. Set aside for 2 minutes to recover.
- Spoon sauce into the Gari and slowly mix through. It’s better to do so to ensure a consistent mixture. The cooled down sauce will not cause a mushy and sticky Gari Fortor. Avoid adding Gari to the hot sauce. That will not turn out well. At all!
- Serve with patty and a side of shredded vegetables.
Can I tell you how delicious this was? It’s an absolute must-try! The taste of Gari Fortor depends on how great your sauce turns out. If the sauce comes out sweetish or more sour, then that’s how the meal will turn out. I used enough pepper to get a more spicy flavour with little tomato paste. Too much paste will give a more acerbic taste. The patty was excellently balanced with the gari due to it’s softer texture and meatiness. I think using minced meat would have made given an extra crunch but lent a drier taste. It’s definite to try the corned beef. I used Lele Corned beef ( not a promo) because it’s tastier and more authentic than the others I have used. Technically you can add gari to any leftover sauce as a means of reusing foods to reduce food waste. Just make sure the sauce cools down before use.
How do you make your Gari Fortor stand out? If you try this recipe, please do tag #SeeMyChow on Instagram for a feature! Do share your thoughts in the comments below.
This is a SeeMyChow contribution by Life & Style blogger Naa Oyoo Kumodzi who writes at naaoyooquartey.com . She is a born foodie, lifestyle blogger, food stylist & photographer and social media strategist for businesses.