Sick of your usual weekly meal rotation? Let these colorful and flavorful Nigerian foods excite your palate!
Nigerian cuisine is one of the best in Africa and in the world.
Primarily featuring starchy vegetables, hearty stews, and lots of herbs and spices, Nigerian dishes are a treat for all the senses.
Even if you can’t book a ticket to Nigeria, you can still enjoy the delicious dishes the country has to offer.
With this collection of easy recipes, you’ll immerse yourself in the wonderful culinary world of Nigeria.
Give your taste buds a break from your typical weekday lunch or dinner! Treat yourself to a delectable Nigerian dish, instead.
1. Jollof Rice
Just as rice is a staple in many Asian and Latin American countries, it is in Nigeria, too.
Jollof rice, at its core, is rice cooked with tomato, onion, pepper, and spices.
This ubiquitous dish is present on both special occasions and regular meals.
Not only is this dish popular in Nigeria, but in other African countries as well, such as Ghana.
With its rich flavors, I’m not surprised why. Other variations include vegetables or a type of meat, such as beef, fish, or chicken.
Garri is another classic dish widely popular in every Nigerian household, regardless of region or ethnicity.
It’s made of peeled and ground cassava.
There are three main ways to prepare and eat garri. One is to mix it with cold water and sugar and enjoy it as a refreshing beverage.
Another way is to eat it as a cereal along with milk and sugar, which is what this recipe is all about.
The last is to turn it into eba, which I’ll be discussing as a separate entry.
However you want to enjoy it, you’re guaranteed to have a satisfying meal.
3. Egusi Soup
Egusi soup is a Nigerian delicacy that features ground melon or pumpkin seeds as its main ingredient.
Other ingredients include meat or seafood, fermented beans, onions, and vegetables.
The combination of ingredients makes for a flavorful soup.
Thanks to the pumpkin seeds (egusi), this soup has a wonderful nuttiness to it. The rest of the ingredients add salty, savory, and spicy flavors as well.
The hearty soup is most commonly eaten with pounded yam, which is a dough-based dish made of, surprise – pounded yam.
4. Moi Moi
Moi moi is a Nigerian steamed pudding made from black-eyed peas, bouillon, dried crayfish, onions, and ground peppers.
It sounds like such a crazy combination, but it works!
Moi moi has either a cylindrical or pyramid shape, depending on the mold used to make it.
The molds are then placed in a pot of boiling water, steaming the mixture and turning it into pudding.
The tasty delicacy can be enjoyed on its own or eaten with jollof rice or fried plantains.
5. Chin Chin
Chin chin is a crunchy, deep-fried snack made of flour, milk, and sugar.
With a crispy-crunchy exterior and a soft interior, it reminds me of the Spanish churro, but in bite-sized form.
Sugar, lime zest, and nutmeg add sweetness and spice to the dough.
It can be shaped into small balls, squares, or even sticks. They taste amazing, regardless.
There are various versions of the chin chin, ranging from soft and pillowy to dense and crunchy.
It’s easy to alter the consistency depending on your taste. Just add or lessen the amount of butter.
Fufu is a large starchy dumpling made of equal parts green plantain flour, cassava, and water.
It’s another Nigerian staple that’s also popular in many West African countries.
Traditional fufu is made by manually pounding the ingredients using a mortar and pestle.
For this recipe, however, you’ll keep it simple by using a food processor.
Nigerian customs dictate the fufu be eaten by hand.
It’s served family-style, where people can pull off a small chunk of fufu, roll it into a ball, make an indentation in the center with their thumb, and dip it into soup or stew.
Dodo is a Nigerian snack featuring fried over-ripe plantains. If you’ve never had deep-fried plantains before, you’re in for a treat.
This crispy and tender golden treat can be enjoyed on its own, or as a side dish.
The best part is that it’s super easy to make.
Ripe plantains (or bananas, if you can’t get a hold of plantains) and oil for frying are all you’ll need.
Nigerian tomato stew has a lovely red hue and delicious bold flavors.
With rich tomatoes as its flavor base, this stew is truly enticing.
Additional flavor agents include onions, bouillon, curry, thyme, garlic, and peppers.
What gives its distinct flavor, though, is the gamey ram.
Because it’s very expensive, this protein is considered celebratory meat and is often only served during special occasions, such as the Islamic holiday, Eid-el Kabir.
9. Ogbono Soup
Ogbono soup has a slippery texture and a rich flavor. It’s also sometimes referred to as “draw soup,” because of its mucilaginous texture.
Admittedly, the consistency takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, you’ll fall hard.
It gets its distinct texture from ogbono, a type of wild mango. Interestingly, it’s the seeds that are added, not the flesh.
Besides the ogbono seeds, the soup also features dried fish, stockfish, assorted meat, and spices.
The different ingredients combine to create a medley of flavors and textures.
Ogbono soup is typically eaten with eba, pounded yam, or fufu.
10. Nigerian Buns
Nigerian buns have a super soft and spongy interior and a crunchy outer crust.
It’s a popular street food in Nigeria and is often paired with a chilled beverage.
It’s mildly sweet with just a hint of spice from the nutmeg.
It’s easy enough to make on your own, as long as you don’t overwork the dough.
It’s just bread, but you’ll be surprised by how addictive these buns are! Consider yourself warned.
11. Egg Roll
When you hear the term, “egg rolls,” your mind probably automatically thinks of the crunchy meat-filled, deep-fried treats of Asia.
Although it’s just as delicious, this dish is entirely different.
The African egg roll is an actual chicken egg boiled and coated in batter and deep-fried until golden.
Trust me, it’s worth a try. This egg roll is crazy delicious!
I love how the batter turns into a crunchy, puffy golden beauty that seals in the soft-boiled egg.
12. Puff Puff
The relative of the chin chin, puff puff is a tasty street snack made of deep-fried batter.
Think of it as the Nigerians’ version of the American donut and the French beignet.
The batter is a simple mixture of flour, sugar, salt, water, and yeast. It is deep-fried in oil until golden brown.
You can serve it as is, or dusted in powdered sugar.
You can also give it a bit of a kick by serving it with pepper sauce.
13. Nigerian Salad
Nigerian salad is a colorful appetizer that features a myriad of raw and cooked vegetables, beans, pasta, eggs, and a lot more.
The vegetables typically include lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber, and corn.
From the colors to the flavors to the textures, this salad gets 10s across the board.
Since it’s very hearty, it can be served as a meal on its own. But it’s also commonly paired with jollof rice or fried chicken.
Amala is a Nigerian delicacy made of yam flour cooked in boiling water until it forms a dough.
The dough is kneaded to become smooth and lump-free – the trademark of a perfect amala.
While yam flour is white, it changed in color when dried, which is why amala is brown.
Amala is a lot similar to fufu, but a bit softer. Just like its cousin, it’s also typically eaten with soups such as ogbono and egusi.
Chicken stew is a hearty dish of chicken thighs cooked in tomatoes, peppers, and a rich, savory sauce.
What makes this stew stand out from the rest is the variety of spices that go into the sauce.
From curry and thyme to red, black, and habanero peppers, this stew isn’t for the week.
To cut through the heat, enjoy this spicy stew with a side of amala or fufu!
16. Agege Bread
Agege bread is a soft and fluffy loaf, perfect for making sandwiches.
Once baked, the bread is brushed with melted butter for that glossy shine and added flavor.
Of course, you can enjoy it on its own, but it’s better when jazzed up with whatever spread or filling.
Common Nigerian sandwich fillings include groundnut, beans, egg, and sardines. You can also dip it in stew, soup, and even tea!
Best of all, agege bread is easy enough to make at home.
Efo riro is a rich stew that features pumpkin leaves. Aside from the taste, this stew is also consumed for its array of health benefits.
The words “efo riro,” mean “stirred leafy vegetable,” so the leaves are the main feature.
If you can’t find pumpkin leaves, water leaves and spinach can also work.
To give it more substance, a type of meat – usually chicken, beef, or smoked fish – is added to the mix.
Lending spice to the stew are scotch bonnets and red bell peppers.
Tuwo shinkafa is a type of rice pudding. It’s neither sweet nor savory, though. The only two ingredients in the recipe are rice and water.
Unlike other rice recipes, you want your rice to be super soft and mushy to achieve the perfect tuwo.
Once cooked, the rice is mashed and formed into balls. It’s then served alongside soup or stew.
Boli is a delicious dish made of ripe plantains. They’re either baked, grilled, or roasted.
Either way, cooking the fruit enhances its sweetness and forms a delicious outer crust.
Because there’s very little oil involved, they’re a much healthier version of the deep-fried plantains.
Just sprinkle the plantains with salt and olive oil, and they’re good to go.
Serve boli with a side of guacamole, and you’ll have a tasty and nutritious breakfast!
20. Peanut Soup
Peanut butter, collard greens, and tomatoes – it seems like such an odd list of ingredients, but believe me, it works.
This unexplainable phenomenon is guaranteed to knock your socks off.
Peanut soup is a hearty, warming soup perfect for cold rainy evenings.
The flavor is a combo of savory, creamy, and nutty with a bit of spice. Overall, it’s very cozy!
Another great thing about it is it’s a snap to make. Ingredients are easy to find, and the effort required is minimal.
I’ve already featured a ton of savory dishes, now it’s time for my favorite part of the meal: dessert.
Nigerian coconut candy is a simple yet irresistible sweet you’ll want to snack on for days.
It’s very basic – just some shredded coconut flakes and sugar toasted until crunchy. It’s surprising how addictive it can be!
You can snack on it as-is, or use it to dress up your yogurt or ice cream.
This pound cake is ridiculously moist, tender, and oh-so-buttery.
If you’re on a diet, you’d better skip ahead! This dessert is impossible to resist.
Infused with nutmeg, this pound cake is wonderfully sweet with a subtle warmth.
Pro-tip: serve the cake with hot chocolate, caramel, ice cream, or berries!
Last on our list is the Nigerian eba, a Nigerian staple made from garri or ground fried cassava.
The cassava is typically cooked in boiling water to form a dough that you then shape into balls and serve with stew or soup.
Eba can either be yellow or white, and you can easily achieve it by adding or omitting palm oil.
This recipe teaches you how to make eba on the stovetop, in the microwave, or a bowl! Pretty neat.
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