If you’re a tourist visiting Nigeria or a Nigerian returning home from abroad, you know that one of the best ways to learn about a people and their culture is through their food. Nigeria has a rich culinary tradition, with a range of dishes from the North, South, East, and West. Here are five must-try local Nigerian dishes that you shouldn’t miss out on:
Suya is a spicy skewered meat dish that originated from the Hausa people in the North. It’s usually made with beef, chicken, or ram, and is marinated in a blend of spices, including dried ground ginger, cumin, paprika, and chili powder. It’s then grilled over an open flame and served with sliced tomatoes, onions, and sometimes a sprinkle of yaji, a blend of spices and ground peanuts. Suya is a delicious and flavorful dish that’s perfect for sharing with friends.
Jollof rice is a one-pot rice dish that’s popular all over West Africa, but it’s said to have originated from Nigeria. It’s made with long-grain rice, tomatoes, onions, and a range of spices, including thyme, bay leaves, and curry powder. You can add chicken, beef, or fish to the dish, but it’s also delicious as a vegetarian option. Jollof rice is a staple in Nigerian cuisine and is often served at parties, weddings, and other social gatherings.
Egusi soup is a soup made from ground melon seeds and usually eaten with a side of fufu, a starchy dough made from cassava, yam, or plantains. Egusi soup can be made with different proteins such as goat meat, beef, or fish and also includes vegetables such as spinach, pumpkin leaves, or bitter leaf. It’s a hearty soup that’s perfect for a cold day and is packed with flavor and nutrients.
Akara is a popular street food in Nigeria that’s made from black-eyed peas that have been soaked, peeled, and ground into a paste. The paste is then mixed with spices, including onions, peppers, and chili powder, and deep-fried until golden brown. Akara is often eaten for breakfast or as a snack and is usually served with bread or pap, a porridge made from cornmeal. It’s a filling and delicious dish that’s perfect for those on the go.
Semovita and Okra Soup
Semovita is a grainy, semolina-based flour that’s boiled in water to make a smooth, doughy consistency. It’s then eaten with okra soup, a thick stew made from fresh okra, tomatoes, onions, and a range of spices, including crayfish and smoked fish. It’s a delicious and filling dish that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.