In an era where noodles, spaghetti, and coco pops are turning into normal food for Nigerian youths, it’s necessary to refresh our memories with indigenous and popular Nigerian foods. You know, actual foods with nutrients and spices that will take your taste buds on a journey.
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The Beauty of Popular Nigerian Foods
Nigeria has one of the best cuisines in the world, thanks to the numerous ethnic groups that make up the country. There are soups, morsels, and other standalone like rice and beans. Each food is different and unique, owing to the ingredients and the manner of production in the community from which they originate.
The top soups in many regions of Nigeria include Banga, Okro, Ewedu, Egusi, Afang, and Edikaikong soup. The ingredients used to give essence to the soups range from local condiments such as processed locust beans (Iru) to local vegetables and a mixture of tasteful assortments for your teeth.
These soups are generally taken with processed starchy root tuber foods such as Eba, Amala, Fufu, and Iyan (otherwise known as swallows). Nigerian dishes are full of protein. Various meats such as beef, mutton, and chicken and different species of fish are often used to accompany the soups.
Don’t even try to visit an Igbo restaurant without expecting fish assortments in your food. In the southern regions of the country, you should expect seafood such as prawns, clams, snails, and crabs in soups and stews. These dishes are simply spectacular!
15 Popular Nigerian Foods to Add to Your Food Timetable
Amala and ewedu with the almighty Gbegiri
Ewedu is an enjoyable draw soup that is indigenous to the Yoruba people of Western Nigeria and often mixed with tomato stew or gbegiri. It is made from jute leaves with iru and a few other condiments. The best and most common swallow for this soup is amala.
Amala is typically made with dried yam (amala isu) which gives it a brown color, but it can be made with cassava (amala lafun) or plantain (amala ogede).
Gbegiri completes amala and ewedu. Some people get their gbegiri from restaurants while some prefer the home-made version. With the peeled beans, palm oil, iru (fermented locust beans), crayfish, salt and maggi, you can bring gbegiri to life. It’s a well-known and popular Nigerian food amongst the Yorubas in southwest, especially the Ibadan people.
Name that popular Nigerian food that ranks higher than jollof rice. It doesn’t exist. Jollof rice is one of the most widely consumed foods in every part of the country. Some people go to parties specifically for the party jollof rice. Jollof rice is not only popular in Nigeria but also in other African countries like Ghana, and worldwide.
You can also make your party rice in the comfort of your home. The main things you need are rice, tomatoes, onion, pepper, and some other spices like thyme, crayfish, curry, and bay leaf. For an amazing taste and complete diet, add beef, chicken or fried fish. Confirm delicacy!
Read also: Owambe in Nigeria: Food, vibes, and music
Pounded yam (iyan) and egusi soup
Pounded yam is a very soft food that is served in several homes and restaurants. It goes well with a variety of soups including Afang and Ogbono soups. Pounded yam is quite easy to prepare as long as you have the strength to pound the boiled and tender yam into a smooth mash.
Egusi soup is widely known as the perfect match for Pounded yam. It is a mixture of ground melon with palm oil, pepper, ugwu (or any vegetable of choice), iru, beef, dry fish and crayfish. Its unique texture and fullness make this soup a special and popular Nigerian food. While this is a highly universal dish, Ondo and Ekiti state indigenes are known to be particularly fond of pounded yam.
Pepper soup is next on the list of popular Nigerian foods. It’s a watery delicious delicacy known to most regions of Nigeria. It contains a variety of proteins such as fresh fish (Catfish), beef, and/or chicken, with some spicy ingredients that makes sure it lives up to its name. If you’re not blowing your mouth as you eat this, just know that the experience is not yet complete.
Ideally, pepper soup should not even qualify as food because it’s really just meat and fish. But considering the abandonment that most popular Nigerian delicacies are going through, it fits well in this list. It may be a bit expensive, but it’s more nutritious and enjoyable compared to noodles and cornflakes. This delicacy is popular among new mothers with a little tweak in the ingredients for a cleansing effect on the uterus and milk production.
This popular Nigerian food has its roots in the Benin Republic. Food vendors make it from mashed beans mixed with dried pepper sauce. This sauce contains some other spices like red onion, salt, tomato, minced ginger, and crayfish. This combination produces a great taste that makes you want more.
Ewa agoyin is commonly sold as street food, however, many Yoruba households make it as well. It’s a filling dish that you can pair with soft bread, boiled yams, or fried plantain. Then you have the most amazing ewa agoyin that turns you into a bean lover.
This is food, people! Real food!
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Ogbono and Eba
Ogbono is another popular Nigerian food or soup that draws like Okro and is common in most parts of Nigeria. Natives prepare it from dried and grounded mango seed with ingredients like palm oil, pepper, meat, stockfish and so on. Ogbono soup is mostly served with eba, fufu, pounded yam and so on. It is very rich in fat and protein. Ogbono has a distinct aroma and its slippery texture gives it more appeal as a perfect pair for swallows. It may be cooked with or without vegetables and okra, depending on preferences.
Eba is the simplest to make of the duo. Just add hot water to garri flakes and mixing to a desired texture. Eba can either be off-white or yellowish, depending on the processing method.
Tuwo masara/Tuwo shinkafa and miyan kuka
This popular Nigerian delicacy is a bolus meal indigenous to the north (Hausas and Fulanis). The Northeners make Tuwo masara from ground corn and tuwo shinkafa from ground rice; both are swallows. The word “Tuwo” means “mashed”.
To prepare, boil rice or corn to tenderness and then mash into a semi-solid form. You’ll enjoy these swallows with soups like Miyan Kuka and Miyan Kardashi, characterized by the presence of baobab leaves and ground okra or even bean soup.
Okpa, or Bambara groundnut (in English), is a very delightful and popular Nigerian food, common in the eastern region of Nigeria especially Enugu State. Nsukka kwenu! The dish is very nourishing and delicious.
You can prepare Okpa by grounding Bambara nuts into flour and mixing it with warm water and ingredients like palm oil, salt, and fresh pepper. Some people enjoy adding pumpkin leaves or bitter leaves in it, especially those with health issues like diabetes and gastric ulcer. You can also buy it from vendors in milk cups, nylon or banana leaves. If you’re familiar with moin-moin, you can guess that the ones in the leaves are the most delicious.
Boiled White Rice
This is hands down the most consumed food in Nigeria, and probably worldwide too. It is easily accessible and owns the crown of staple foods. Most families boil white rice and eat with tomato stew or soup richly or poorly garnished with fish or meat as the occasion demands.
White rice is everywhere you go in Nigeria, it’s better than the MTN network. Before you decide to eat egg rolls and drink water for breakfast, ask yourself: how long will it take me to find a food vendor that has rice? Eat rice for breakfast, please.
Read also: Body-building foods to eat as a Nigerian
Edikaikong soup is a type of Nigerian vegetable soup dish native to the Efik people of southern Nigeria. It has a generous amount of ugwu and water leaves cooked with palm oil and different types of meat and seafood like beef, tripe, cow feet, ponmo, dried fish, African crayfish, and periwinkle (sea snail).
When considering a highly nutritious dish, edikaikong is actually expensive to make. For some people, it’s a delicacy reserved for special occasions where people pair it with Nigerian swallow foods like fufu, eba, or pounded yam.
Asaro (Yam Porridge)
Asaro, also known as yam porridge is a unique way of cooking yam and is common in the southwestern part of Nigeria. It is a popular Nigerian food that contains boiled yam, palm oil, pepper, salt, Maggi, mackerel fish, green vegetable, meat or chicken, and other spicy ingredients.
To prepare, mash the yams with the pepper mix until it has a uniform colour. It makes a perfect dinner or lunch and is also served at Nigerian parties.
Banga soup is a hearty Niger-Delta and Edo state soup from palm nuts. In the Eastern part of Nigeria, natives call it “ofe Aku”. It is also one of the best nourishing soups indigenous to the country. It contains an assortment of spice flavourings like belletete leaves and Banga spice leaves, the extract from fresh palm fruit, and a variety of meat and fish. , egusi soup, chicken pepper soup.
You can combine any of your favourite swallows to enjoy Banga soup.
Everybody has heard of Ofada stew. Yet, only a few have really experienced the pleasure of eating it. Ofada stew is one of the most popular Nigerian foods that contains bleached palm oil, locust beans, African crayfish, and different varieties of meats like beef and cow foot. It’s native to the Yoruba people though spread throughout Nigeria.
Ofada stew is accompanied with beans or rice, most especially ofada rice locally grown in Nigeria because it’s unpolished. It is healthier and richer in fiber than imported rice, boiled or fried yams, plantains, and potatoes. To enjoy this meal like a native, eat it with your fingers from the leaves of banana or moin-moin leaves. You’ll be grateful to yourself for exploring that route.
This is spicy roasted goat meat that is native to the Yoruba people especially Ondo people. Like pepper soup, it doesn’t technically qualify as food, but it’s a popular Nigerian delicacy that is better than a lot of alternatives you choose to eat.
Asun usually appears at most traditional parties, special occasions, festivals, and holidays. You can make it with slow-roasted skin-on goat that’s chopped up and sautéed with onions, bell peppers, and seasoning. It has an amazing taste and is a good combination with jollof rice or fried plantain.
Afang soup is a vegetable soup that originated with the Efik people of Nigeria’s Akwa-Ibom and Cross River regions. It has a very faint, almost indiscernible bitter taste that pricks your taste buds (in a good way).
Afang soup is a nutrient-dense soup. Beef, fish, palm oil, crayfish, pepper, Shaki (cow tripe), waterleaf, okazi leaf, onion, periwinkle salt, and other seasonings make up the essence of Afang soup. It is a good combination with various swallows and also with rice.
Read also: Healthy Nigerian snacks for you
Food is important for healthy living, and also for enjoyment – to take your taste buds on a delightful journey. These popular Nigerian foods are popular because they’re easy to find in every state of the country. They have the necessary nutrients and are perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
So, before you spend a whole week hustling and then feeding only on junk food, take a good look at this list and pick the ones that’ll supply you with enough nutrients.
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About the Author
My name is Pelumi Lawal, a graduate of Physiology. I am a business enthusiast and can monetize almost anything. I enjoy gisting, Bollywood movies, taekwondo, and food. I am a very passionate person who can achieve anything once I set my mind to it. I just recently pick an interest in writing and I hope to grow and improve my skills.
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