Gari Fotor With Sardines

Gari fotor with sardines

Seafood Dishes | April 30, 2020 | By

Garri is one of the most accessible and versatile food available to West Africans. It is one of those foods you will find in a Nigerian household, home and abroad; and is typically associated with quick meals. Add boiling water to make eba, add cold water for garri soakings or just sprinkle over beans; and you’re good to go. Gari fotor is prepared by mixing garri with sauce; so it is also quick to prepare.

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Gari fotor is very popular in Ghana, but not in Nigeria. I only discovered this dish when I moved to the UK. As a Nigerian, it is a another way to eat garri. This delicious Ghanaian dish has a bright orange colour and is sometimes called “garri jollof”.

Garri is made from cassava (manioc, yuca). It is a cheap source of a carboydrates and fibre in West African diet. I have fond memories of this “grain-like” food. Like a lot of people in my generation, it was the one thing that was on everyone’s provision list for boarding schools. Garri soakings was what you turned to, when the hunger pangs hit at the hostel. It was also a life saver at the University and I still like to soak garri with cold water and groundnuts on warm days.

Garri is prepared by fermenting finely grated cassava, before pan-frying. The fermentation gives it the pleasantly sour taste; and the length of fermentation determines how “sour” the garri is. I found that the best garri for gari fotor are the less sour ones, as the sharp taste of the very sour garri easily overpower the taste of the sauce.

How To Make Gari Fotor

Gari fotor is usually served with either meat, fish or egg. I used canned sardines for this recipe as the idea was to use convenient store-cupboard ingredients only. You can use whatever protein catches your fancy or do without it.

It is important for the sauce to be full of flavour as this determines the flavour of the final dish. Allow the sauce to cool before you add to the garri, otherwise  the hot sauce could start to cook the starch, which then gives a “doughy” consistency  like eba instead of crumbly gari fotor.

Stock could be substituted with stock cube and some water.

Gari fotor with sardines

Gari Fotor With Sardines

Abi Olayiwola
This delicious meal from Ghana is quick, easy to make and very filling. It is perfect as a side dish or main meal.
4.6 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Cooling time 15 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine African, West African
Servings 4
Calories 394 kcal


  • 1 1/2 cup Garri
  • 3 tablespoons Palm oil/Other vegetable oil
  • 2 Onions sliced
  • 2 Garlic chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mild curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper flakes/powder
  • 1/2 cup Stock
  • 1 can Sardine
  • 2 handfuls Spinach chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Tomatoes chopped for garnish


  • Take the sardines out of the can and break into chunks. Keep aside
  • Mix the tomato puree and pepper flakes in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons water to form a paste.
  • Heat the oil in a pan, then pour in the onions.
  • Fry the onions until translucent.
  • Add garlic, curry powder and ginger.
  • Allow to cook for about 30 secs before adding the tomato puree and pepper paste.
  • Add the stock and the sardine chunks.
  • Add some salt to taste, cover the pan and allow to simmer for about 15 mins.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the chopped spinach.
  • Allow to cool.
  • While the sauce is cooling, add some water to the garri to make it moist. Add enough water to make it slightly damp, not soggy.
  • Pour the sauce into the moist garri and mix thoroughly.
  • Serve with the chopped tomatoes.


Calories: 394kcal
Keyword Gari, Gari foto, Gari fotor, Garri, Ghanaian dishes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. Kwesi Boateng

    June 9, 2020 at 9:01 am

    I tried this recipe and my family loved it. I particularly like the fact that it is a one-pot meal, instead of making the garri separately; then preparing something to eat it with on the side.

  2. Just another home cook

    October 3, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    5 stars
    I really wanted to try this dish, but I’ve never had gari before. Via Google, I read comparisons to couscous, which I have on hand! So I tried this recipe with couscous and it was delicious. Maybe someday I’ll order gari online because now I am confident to use it with a tasty recipe like this!

    I wasn’t sure what size of can to use for the sardines, but I have these little tins that are 124g. I used 2 tins, so I wonder if that was accurate?

    • Abi Olayiwola

      October 5, 2020 at 9:33 am

      It is great that you used couscous as a substitute for garri. I had never thought of it before! I’m glad you you tried and enjoyed this Ghanaian dish with the twist on the ingredients.

      I also used the 124g can of sardines, I will try to add the can size from recipes henceforth to make the information clearer.

  3. Lenora

    November 20, 2020 at 3:08 am

    5 stars
    Years back I worked with a man from Ghana who would often bring in this sardines, spinach and rice dish for lunch I asked one day out of curiosity to try it and it was SO delicious! from then on he would always bring me some when he brought it. It’s been years since we worked together and I’ve thought about this dish ever since. So today I had some sardines sitting around and decided to Google “sardines, spinach African recipe” and this is what came up. It seemed pretty similar to the dish I remember except for the garri. So I used rice instead. I also had some roasted tomatoes that I froze and needed to use up, so I used that in the dish instead of the tomatoes for garnish. It turned out so good! I’ll definitely make this again for sure. First time making anything West African and it worked out great!

    • Abi Olayiwola

      November 23, 2020 at 5:52 am

      Thanks for the comment Lenora. I love that you tried this recipe with rice; I always encourage to use what they have or prefer in recipes. I’m glad you liked it too. I hope this will encourage you to try other African recipes.

  4. Daniel atakpa

    February 13, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    Yes I like the idea


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