Are you planning a trip to Nigeria? One fun idea or activity you have to include in your itinerary without a doubt is to try out the food. As a multi-ethnic country, Nigeria is a fertile ground for ridiculously delicious delicacies. From the east, west, north and south to virtually every in-between corners of the country, our plethora of spice-rich flavourful dishes are what ties us together. To make it easy for you, here’s a selection of 20 popular Nigerian food to get you started on this journey of tastes. Join us as we explore the deliciousness that abides in this great giant of Africa!
1. Pounded Yam
Pounded yam is one of Nigeria’s most popular dishes that can be served with a variety of soups like Egusi, Ogbono, Vegetable and Okro soup. Yam, which is widely available is boiled and pounded into a smooth mash. You’ll most likely find people eating pounded yam with Egusi, Banga, Ogbono or some other meal.
Mind you, Nigerians abroad prepare alternative pounded yam using yam flour, but it doesn’t taste like the original pounded yam. Although, the Yoruba people are known to be fond of pounded yam, some other Nigerian tribes like the Ibos consume it especially during occasions such as during the celebration of new yam festival.
Garri would pass as the king in the land of Nigerian dishes, as it is a household food in almost all Nigerian homes. There is a popular joke in Nigeria that, though Garri has no advert placement, yet, it sells more than other food products that advertise.
Garri is prepared from cassava tubers that have been fermented, but the tubers must undergo peeling, washing and grating into a mash prior to being fermented. The product gotten from this is then roasted and pounded to form fine flour.
Garri when mixed with hot water, becomes ‘Eba’, and can be served with almost all kinds of stews and soups. It can also be eaten with beans or as a snack.
3. Egusi Soup
This soup is widely consumed in Nigeria. Ingredients used in preparing the soup include melon seeds, red or any desired meat, sea food, fermented beans, a variety of vegetables and onions. Egusi soup can be served alongside Garri, Pounded yam and fufu.
4. Jollof Rice
This colourful delicacy is food to many West African Countries, not just Nigeria. Ingredients of Jollof rice include rice, onions, tomatoes, chillies and a variety of spices. It can be served with vegetables and desired meat, chicken or fish. Jollof rice is commonly served on special occasions and social events.
5. Efo Riro
Efo Riro is a mix of pumpkin green leaves, meat, like chicken and offal or smoked fish. Efo Riro is a Yoruba delicacy originating from Western Nigeria. Vegetables like water leaves or pumpkin leaves are used in preparing the stew, spinach, can also be added to the ingredients.
Akara is fried been cakes. Its popularity in Nigeria is quite obvious as many Nigerians opt for it for their breakfast. In the south, it is known as Akara while in the North it is called Kosai. It can be gotten very cheap from road side food vendors. It can also be prepared at home for family and friends.
Suya is a very popular delicacy in Nigeria. Conventionally eaten in the evenings, this food is made with fish or meat rubbed in spices and then barbequed on a skewer. The spices comprise of ginger, peanuts, pepper, dried onions and various stock flavours.
8. Afang Soup
The soup uses local Afang leaves and water leaves together with dried fish, meat and snails for seasoning. Though, it originated from South-southern Nigeria, Afang soup is now enjoyed across state borders in the country and also in diaspora. The meal takes about an hour to prepare, and is often served with Pounded yam, fufu and Garri.
9. Moi Moi
Moi Moi is a Nigerian steam bean pudding which has its origin from South West Nigeria. It can be made with egg, crayfish, corned beef, onions, or sardine to give it that added taste. Moi Moi can be served with other Nigerian dishes or eaten alone as a snack.
10. Tuwo Shinkafa
Tuwo Shinkafa is translated from Hausa language meaning – Mashed Rice. It is the go-to-side-dish for many Northern soups such as Miyan Kuka, Miyan Karkashi and even Okra soup in many Hausa-speaking communities. It is usually served daily for lunch or dinner.
Nigerian pepper soup is among the nation’s favourite dishes due to its intensely spicy flavour and the variety of meat, fish or chicken that can be cooked with it. The soup broth is rich, with aromatic spices, pepper, ginger, garlic and onions to give it that unforgettable taste.
Nkwobi is a popular Ibo delicacy prepared from spiced cow leg marinated in a richly flavoured sauce of Utazi leaves and palm oil. For people looking to have a nice outing, a meal you can take as the African equivalent of an appetizer would either be – pepper soup and a dessert could be Nkwobi. You’ll likely find them well served at Igbo kitchens in major Nigerian cities.
13. Ewa Aganyin
Ewa Aganyi is made up of cooked beans and pepper sauce. It is a delicious beans dish, well known for its softness and tasty sauce. Every Nigerian beans lover is crazy about Ewa Aganyi and it can be served with bread or yam.
14. Amala and Ewedu
Amala and Ewedu soup is a classic Nigerian food, mostly eaten by the Yoruba tribe, especially people from Oyo state, but it is appreciated by other tribes.
15. Abacha and Ugba
Abacha and Ugba are known as African Salad and it can be eaten as a meal or snack. Many people eat it as a meal because it fills up your stomach just like any other meal. This meal is well known and very popular in the Eastern part of Nigeria, among Igbo tribes and they love it.
16. Ijebu Garri and Groundnut
Funny enough, nothing is a soothing as taking Garri and Groundnut with chilled water in the afternoon. The combination gives a kind of fulfilment that only a true Nigerian can understand. Ijebu garri can be enjoyed with groundnut or smoked fish.
17. Boli and Groundnut
I mentioned Garri and groundnut earlier, but this time around, it is Boli and groundnut. Boli is roasted ripe plantain and is very tasty when taken with groundnut, it is truly a delectable popular snack for Nigerians and that is why they miss it most when they travel abroad.
18. Ogbono Soup
Ogbono soup is a popular Nigerian dish made with ground ogbono seeds, with considerable local variation. The ground ogbono seeds are used as a thickener and gives the soup a brownish coloration. Besides the seeds, water and palm oil, it typically contains meat, seasonings such as chilli pepper, leafy vegetables and other vegetables. Typical leaf vegetables include bitter leaf and celosia. Typical other vegetables include tomatoes and okra. Some people add onions and iru. (Fermented locust beans) and this delicious soup can be eaten with pounded yam or with rice. In fact I’m salivating already.
19. Ofada Rice
Ofada Rice is produced locally in Nigeria. What makes it special is its unique flavour and aroma. Most Nigerians will jump with excitement at the sight of Ofada rice and stew.
Adalu is a combination of beans and corn, cooked together with various seasonings and spices. Most Nigerians ate lots of this delicious meal while growing up, and they have deep love for it.
What do you think of our list? Perhaps you know many more dishes that you think should be on the list? Drop your comment below and let us know about it. You can also send in your travel stories to [email protected]. Follow us on twitter, facebook and instagram
*This article is published as an adaptation of http://www.hfmagazineonline.
Chinenye Emezie-Egwuonwu is an author and essayist. She enjoys reading, baking, and wouldn’t mind spending her day buried in the pages of decor magazines! She is the subeditor at Afro Tourism.