Culinary traditions of Nigeria
Nigerian cuisine consists of dishes or food items from the hundreds of ethnic groups that comprise Nigeria. Like other West African cuisines, it uses spices and herbs with palm or groundnut oil to create deeply flavored sauces and soups.
Nigerian feasts can be colourful and lavish, while aromatic market and roadside snacks cooked on barbecues or fried in oil are in abundance and varied. Bushmeat is also consumed in Nigeria. The brush-tailed porcupine and cane rats are the most popular bushmeat species in Nigeria.
Tropical fruits such as pineapple, coconut, banana, and mango are mostly consumed in Nigeria.
Nigerian cuisine, like many West African cuisines, is known for being spicy.
- Coconut rice is rice made with coconut milk, tomato puree and other spices.
- Jollof rice is a rice dish made with pureed tomato and Scotch bonnet-based sauce.
- Ofada rice is a popular Nigerian rice variety. It is also called unpolished rice as it is rice in its natural state.
- Fried rice is typically mixed with an assortment of eggs, vegetables, meat, poultry or prawns.
- Pate is made with ground dry corn, rice or acha. Mostly combined with vegetables (spinach), tomatoes, onions, peppers, garden eggs (eggplants), locust beans, groundnuts, biscuit bones and minced meat are common in northwestern Nigeria, like Kano, Kaduna, Nassarawa and Plateau.
- Tuwo masara is a corn-flour dish eaten in Northern Nigeria.
- Tuwo shinkafa, thick rice pudding usually eaten with miyan kuka (a thick 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.
- White rice—foreign white rice and local rice is served with local pepper stews and sauces from different tribes. It is widely served with a thick tomato and pepper-based stew.
- Banga rice is a traditional Nigerian rice recipe made from palm nut and rice. It is very common in the southern (Delta State) and eastern parts of the country.
- Palm-oil rice is often referred to as 'local rice'; usually prepared with fresh palm oil, assorted fish (dried fish and smoked fish), garnished with local spices like locust beans ('okpeyi' or 'dawa dawa'), onions and pepper. It could be made as jollof or as white rice with the palm oil stew separate.
- Curried rice is rice made with fresh turmeric or curry powder, onions, salt and seasoning to taste and then vegetable sauce is made to go along with it.
- Masa is made from 'tuwo shinkafa' rice that is blended after being destoned (onions and other spices are put in it). Then, yeast is added and it is allowed to rise. it is later cooked with low heat in a custom-made masa pot.
- Danbu rice is also a type of rice usually made in the North. It used to be ground and mixed with pepper.
• Egbo , a Yoruba delicacy that can be eaten alone with pepper sauce or paired with beans making it even more delicious .
Woman selling ponmo (cow skin).
Meat is used in most Nigerian dishes.
- Suya, from the north of Nigeria, is grilled meat coated with ground chili pepper, peanut powder, 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.
- Tsire refers specifically to meat which has a generous coating of peanut/chili powder. The meat may or may not be on a skewer.
- Kilishi is similar to beef jerk thin it is made from meat that has been cut into very thin slices, which are then spread out to dry. A preparation of chili pepper, spices and local herbs is then prepared into a paste which is lightly brushed on both sides. This is then briefly grilled.
- Balangu refers to meat that has been grilled over wood/coal fire. Specifically, no seasoning is applied to bring out the natural flavour of the particular type of meat which may be Goat, mutton or beef. Salt and spices can be added later according to taste. Most of these meaty delicacies are Hausa/Fulani.
- Nkwobi consists of cooked cow legs smothered in a thick, spicy palm oil sauce, a classic dish originating from the southeast of Nigeria.
- Asun is spicy roasted goat chopped into bite-sized pieces, with bold aromatic flavors from onions, habanero, Garlic and bell peppers. Native to the Yoruba speaking Ondo people in Western Nigeria.
- Salted dried ram meat is called Eran Oniyo in Yoruba language. Rice Risotto with Salted Sun-Dried Ram Meat is a dish common to Muslims in Lagos State. It is usually prepared with ram meat used for the Eid-el Kabir festival. Prime cuts from the ram meat like the thigh, ribs and some fatty parts are washed in lime water to drain out blood, the meat is covered in salt and sun-dried for a few days.
Soups and stews
- Banga soup is made from palm nuts and is eaten primarily in the south and mid-western parts of Nigeria.
- Ofe akwu is also made from palm nuts, but prepared more like a stew meant to be eaten with rice.
- Miyan kuka, very common among the Hausa people, is made from powdered baobab leaves and dried okra.
- Miyan yakuwa is a famous Hausa soup.
- Ewedu soup, popular amongst the Yoruba people of south-western Nigeria, is jute leaves cooked by pureeing the leaves with a blender or special broom.
- Eka soup (beniseed soup) is a popular dish among the Idomas of Benue State, the Ogojas in Cross River and the Ibirams of Kogi State. Eka is a blend of sesame seeds, roasted groundnut and palm kernel puree.
- Margi special is common in the northeastern part of Nigeria, Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. The soup comes from the Margi people who live in riverine areas. It is prepared with fresh fish of any kind and African soreal (yakuwa in Hausa or omblanji in Margi).
- Edikang-ikong is a vegetable soup made from ugwu (pumpkin) leaves and waterleaf which originated with the Annang, Ibibio and Efik people.
- Gbegiri is a bean-based stew from southwest Nigeria.
- Orunla is a soup made from dried okra, roughly chopped and sun-dried. It is common among the Yorubas.
- Pepper soup is a light soup made from a mix of meat and fish with herbs and spices. This is one of the few soups in Nigerian cuisine that can be eaten alone and is not used as a sauce for a carbohydrate main dish such as fufu or pounded yam. It can also be made with nutmeg and chili peppers. It can be garnished with fish, beef, goat meat or chicken. Peppersoup is often an appetizer at official gatherings; however, it is consumed also in the evening at pubs and social gatherings.
- Afang is a vegetable soup which originated with the Efik people, Ibibio people and Ananng people in southeast Nigeria. It is prepared with waterleaf and ukazi or afaang with kpomo, perinwinkles and lots of assorted meat and fish.
- Corn soup, also known locally as omi ukpoka, is made with ground dry corn and blended with smoked fish. It is a common food of the Afemai, especially people from Agenebode in northern Edo state.
- Draw soup (or okoroenyeribe) is made from okra or ogbono seeds cooked until they thicken.
- Atama soup, a palm kernel soup
- Efo riro/Efo elegusi, a stew made from leafy vegetables, pepper, palm oil and other ingredients, is common among the Yorubas.
- Egusi soup is thickened with ground melon seeds and contains leafy and other vegetables, seasonings, and meat. It is often eaten with dishes like amala, pounded yam (iyan), fufu, etc.
- Miyan taushe, a great blend of groundnut and pumpkin leaves spiced with pepper, dawadawa or iru, & seasoning cubes. It is enjoyed best with tuwo shinkafa.
Egburegbu soup usually prepared by Ebonyi State Indigenes
- Maafe, a stew made with groundnuts (peanuts), tomatoes and onions as the base, can be infinitely varied with chicken, beef or fish and different leafy vegetables for subtle flavours. Groundnut stew is made with ground dry groundnuts and vegetables, fish, meat, local seasoning and palm oil by the Etsakor people in Edo state.
- Buka stew, similar to maafe, is a stew made from goat, beef or chicken and cooked with tomatoes, onions, pepper.
- Ogbono soup is made with ground ogbono seeds, with leafy greens, other vegetables, seasonings, and meat. Ogbono is also eaten with many dishes similar to pounded yam, amala, fufu, etc.
- White soup, also called ofe nsala, made with utazi leaves.
- Bitterleaf soup (ofe onugbu) is made with cocoyam that was cooked and pounded, palm oil (or 'akwu') ogiri, assorted fish and meat (as you desire), pepper, maggi and salt. Then fresh bitterleaf that has been plucked and dried briefly is mashed with hands until the bitter taste is off put and made to boil until the taste blends.
- Ofada stew (Ayamase) is a palm-oil-based stew popular in western Nigeria. It's made with palm oil, unripe pepper and tomatoes, beef, tripe, cow skin and locust beans. It's a stew for local ofada rice, also referred to as brown rice. It's usually served in 'ewe' (flat, broad leaves). To make the stew, palm oil is first bleached until it is thin and then used to cook locust beans. A blend of mixed peppers and tomatoes are added, then the beef, and it's cooked for 10–15 minutes.
- Groundnut soup (Peanut soup) is made from fresh peanut ground to paste, (though some may fry the peanut too), onions, bell pepper can be added while grinding it. Then it is stirred in palm oil with onions until it fries. The meat stock is then added and once it boils, you add crayfish and other fish and/or meat and allow to boil together, after which leaves are added (pumpkin leaf, bitterleaf or any other).
- Ora (Oha) soup is made with cocoyam that used to be cooked and pounded, palm oil (or 'akwu') ogiri, assorted fish and meat (as you desire), pepper, maggi and salt.
- Edo esan (black soup)
- Ofe owerri is prepared with four kinds vegetable leaves; okazi, ugu,uziza and oha leaves. A particular species of coco yam is used as a thickener to make the soup thick. This vegetable soup is common among the igbos of eastern Nigeria. 'ofe' means soup in igbo language and 'Owerri' is the capital city of Imo state in eastern Nigeria.
- Achara soup, mostly found in Abia State- Ndiwo, Ngwa, Umuahia, Itumbauzo.
- Snake, squirrel, rabbit and wild dog dishes are used by some Nigerians to prepare soups and stews.