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Nigerian Cuisine

About Nigerian Cuisine

Flag of NigeriaNigerian cuisine consists of dishes or food items from the hundreds of ethnic groups that comprise the West African nation of Nigeria. Like other West African cuisines, it uses spices, herbs in conjunction with palm oil or groundnut oil to create deeply-flavoured sauces and soups often made very hot with chilli peppers.

Nigerian Suya
Nigerian Suya

Nigerian feasts are colourful and lavish, while aromatic market and roadside snacks cooked on barbecues or fried in oil are plentiful and varied.

Entrees

Rice-based

  • Coconut rice is a rice dish made with coconut milk.
  • Jollof is a rice based food, made up with a range of spices, tomatoes, onions pepper, meat, oil and a combination of vegetables.
  • Pate is made with ground dry corn or rice or acha. Mostly combined with vegetables (spinach), tomatoes, onions, pepper, garden egg, locust beans, groundnut, biscuit bone and meats minces. It is common within northwestern Nigeria, like Kaduna, Nassarawa and Plateau.
  • Tuwo masara is corn flour dish eaten also in the northern part of Nigeria.
  • Tuwo shinkafa is a thick rice pudding usually eaten with “miyan kuka”( a musillaginous soup) and goat meat stew or miyan taushe, a pumpkin stew made with spinach, meat (usually goat or mutton) and smoked fish. It is primarily served in the northern part of the country.

Beans-based

  • Akara
  • Ewa aganyin
  • Gbegiri (a bean based stew native to southwest Nigeria)
  • Moimoi

Meat

Meat is used in most Nigerian dishes.

  • Suya is a meat kebab coated with ground groundnuts (peanuts) and chilli pepper and other local spices. It is prepared barbecue style on a stick. This is one of the most famous Nigerian delicacies and can be found within easy reach all over the country.

Soups and stews

Maafe
Maafe
  • Banga soup is made from palm nuts and is eaten primarily in the midwestern part of Nigeria.
  • Miyan kuka is also common among the Hausa people.
  • Miyan yakuwa is a famous soup common to the Hausa people.
  • Pepper soup is a light soup made from a mix of meat or fish and a mix of herbs and spices. This is one of the few soups in Nigerian cuisine that can be drunk alone and not as a sauce for a carbohydrate main dish such as fufu or pounded yam.
  • Afang is a vegetable soup which has its origin from the Efiks in the southeast of Nigeria.
  • Corn soup, also known locally as omi ukpoka, is made with ground dry corn and blended with smoked fish. It is common with afemai people mainly from Agenebode in northern Edo state.
  • Draw soup (or okoroenyeribe) is made from okro or melon seeds cooked until they thicken.
  • Efo riro or tabot stew – A stew made from leafy vegetables and tastes nice when eaten with fish. It is common among the Yorubas.
  • Egusi Soup – A staple in many Western and Central African countries. The egusi seeds are not from the sweet, fleshy watermelon we know but come from any number of melons or gourds native to those regions. Egusi sauce is thickened with roasted ground or pureed Egusi Seeds, giving it a smoky, nutty character.
  • Groundnut stew with groundnuts (peanuts), tomato and onion as the base, can be infinitely varied with chicken, beef or fish and different leaf vegetables for subtle flavours. Groundnut soup is made with ground dry groundnuts and vegetables, fish, meat local seasoning and palm oil. It is common amongst Etsakor people in Edo state.
  • Rice Stew, similar to Maafe, is a stew made from goat, beef or chicken and cooked with a tomato, onions, peppers and groundnut- or peanut oil.
  • Ogbono Soup – A Nigerian meat and vegetable stew thickened with ogbono seed. Ogbono is the dried seed of the African mango tree, and it is ground and used as a powerful thickener with an earthy flavour. Ogbono soup is popular everywhere in Nigeria and neighbouring countries. Each region has its own variations, but meat, greens and ogbono seeds are common elements.

Side dishes

 

Dodo (Fried plantain)
Dodo (Fried plantain)
  • Fried plantain – (or dodo) is a side dish of plantains fried in vegetable oil or palm oil. It is preferably ripe plantain.
  • Funkaso, millet pancakes
  • Mosa, fermented corn, which is ground into a thick paste,fried and then sprinkled with sugar. It is an acquired taste. There is also an alternative made from very soft plantain which is mashed into a paste, mixed with dried black pepper, fried and then sprinkled with sugar, for those with a sweet tooth.

Puddings, pastes and porridge

  • Moimoi is a steamed bean pudding made from a mixture of washed and peeled black-eyed beans and wrapped in a moimoi leaf (like a banana leaf).

Yam-based

  • Iyan, called pounded yam in English, is similar to mashed potatoes but all mashed and completely smooth with no yam chunks left.
  • Amala (or aririguzofranca) is a thick paste made from yam, which had been peeled, cleaned, dried and then blended similar to iyan but normally darker (brown) in colour.

Cassava-based

  • Eba, also called gari is, like amala, a very thick paste that is either rolled into balls or served like amala, and made from cassava (manioc).
  • Fufu – A staple food of West and Central Africa. It is made by boiling starchy vegetables like cassava, yams or plantains and then pounding them into a dough-like consistency.
  • Lafun is basically like amala but much lighter in colour, and made from cassava. It is not to be confused with iyan and tastes and smells totally different from the yam-based “Iyan”

Breakfast

  • Masa
  • Yams and eggs or stew
  • Akamu – A traditional Nigerian recipe for a classic porridge made from fermented maize starch that can be served thinly for breakfast or can be served very thick as an accompaniment to West African stews (soups).
  • Bread

Snacks and sweets

  • Chin chin – A fried sweet cookie made from flour and eggs and can be made in different shapes and sizes.
  • Puff Puff – A traditional Nigerian food similar to a doughnut. There exists a similar version known as bofrot in Ghana. Puff-puffs are similar to the French Beignet and the Italian Zeppole.
  • Akara is a beignet from a dough based on black-eyed beans. It is sometimes served for breakfast.
  • Alkaki, made from wheat and sugar paste
  • Kuli-kuli, made from ground peanuts.
  • Kokoro is a fried dry snack made from corn and garri (cassava). There are two different kinds.
  • Meat pie is a D-shaped pie with beef, potatoes, and optional pepper fillings.
  • Sausage roll, meat blanketed with flavoured dough.
  • Scotch Eggs – some fast-food restaurants offer Scotch eggs alongside their other menu items.
  • Wara, soft cottage cheese made from fresh cow milk.
  • Plantain Chips
  • Coconut Candy
  • Dundun, roasted or deep-fried slices of yam. It may be fried in palm oil or vegetable oil; water is added to soften the yam as it cooks. Dundun is usually eaten with a sauce made of groundnut or palm-oil, tomatoes, chilli peppers and seasoning.

Beverages

  • Kunu is a popular drink made of either millet, sorghum or maize.
  • Palm Wine, which may be distilled into ogogoro.
  • Zobo is a drink made of roselle juice. (the Yorubas call the white variety Isapa.)

Condiments

Iru is fermented locust beans used as a condiment in cooking and is typically added to Egusi Soup and Ogbono Soup

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