Nigerian cuisine consists of dishes or food items from the hundreds of ethnic groups that comprise Nigeria from the North to the south to the east and the west. Nigeria is home to numerous varieties of foods. Different ethnic groups in Nigeria from the Yoruba to the Igbo to the Hausa and various regions in Nigeria contribute their unique dishes.
Nigerian meals in the world are delightful. The popular Nigerian jollof rice is consumed worldwide. Some of the most popular Nigerian soups include egusi, ewedu, okra soup (otherwise called 'draw soup'), efo riro, banga soup and ofe oha.
Some snacks locally prepared by Nigerians include the popular bean cake (akara), okpa, Agidi, kuli kuli and puff puff.
Some common Nigerian ingredients are rice, beans and garri (cassava flakes), red oil, pepper, groundnut oil and crayfish. These foods can be produced in various forms.
Rice is one of the most common staple foods in Nigeria. Most families eat a rice dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- Jollof rice – The popular Nigerian jollof rice is made with freshly grinded pepper, tomato, bouillon cubes (locally called maggi), salt, onions and groundnut oil. A popular cuisine at festivals and social gatherings.
- Ofada rice – Ofada rice is a local heritage and traditional rice grown in south-west Nigeria, exclusively in Ogun state and particularly associated with the Yoruba tribe. It is commonly served with fried stew sauce. It's nutritious, and also served at parties and social gatherings.
- Coconut rice – Coconut rice is rice cooked in coconut milk.
- Fried rice – Popular made Nigerian fried rice is made with carrot, assorted meat, green beans, green pepper, peas, thyme, curry, groundnut oil, onions and sweet corn. It is also a popular party cuisine.
Beans are one of the most important foods eaten in Nigeria and a proteinous food eaten in Nigeria, in their sundry varieties.
- Moi Moi is a Nigerian steamed bean pudding made from a mixture of washed and peeled black-eyed beans, onions and fresh ground red peppers (usually a combination of bell peppers and chilli or Scotch bonnet). It is a staple in Nigeria regarded to be rich in protein.
- Akara, also known as fried bean cake, is prepared by grinding the mixture of washed and peeled beans, then frying the paste made from it.
- Ekuru a steamed savoury bean dish from the south-western states of Nigeria.
- Ewa aganyin boiled beans are eaten with a pepper sauce, common in the South Western part of Nigeria.
- Okpa a steamed bambara bean pudding made from the bambara bean flour. It is a common dish in the eastern states of Nigeria.
Nigerian home meals and local dishes are classified based on the tribes, the most populous tribes in Nigeria are the Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo. Each tribe has a unique way of preparing their foods.
Yoruba meals are one of the popular meals eaten by most ethnic groups in Nigeria. The Native meals:
- Amala (yam-flour)
- Gbegiri (soup made from beans)
- Efo riro (vegetable soup)
- Akara (bean cake)
- Iyan (pounded yam)
- Ewa Agayin (made from beans)
- Moi-Moi (pudding beans)
- Ẹba (fried cassava flour)
- Ikokore – Ijebu-ode (made from water yam)
Hausa meals are nutritious and are the easiest to prepare among the most populous tribes in Nigeria. Here are some examples of Hausa dishes:
- Tuwo shinkafa – a Nigerian “swallow” that originates from northern Nigeria, popular among the Hausas. It is a thick pudding prepared from local rice that is soft and sticky.
- Masa – a rice cake that is from the northern part of Nigeria.
- Dambu nama – Dambu nama is a meal prepared from shredded meats. It is a side meal to masa or tuwo shinkafa.
Igbo foods are easy to make and also cherished by other tribes in the country. They include:
- Oha (white pepper) soup
- Okro soup
- Agidi and beans
- Nkwobi diverse from a town named Nkwobi
- Abacha (African salad)
- Ukwa (African breadfruit)
- Ona (made from three-leaved yam)
- Ede (pounded cocoyam)
- Ji (yam) can be prepared as porridge, white and eaten with palm oil oras Ji Awai ( water yam)
- Egusi soup
- Ofe Akwu (Banga soup) used to eat white Rice.
- Ofe Achara (Elephant Grass soup)
- Ofe onugbo (Bitter leaf soup)
- Ofe Ede (Cocoyam soup)
Popular meals There are some popular meals in Nigeria that travellers won't want to miss when they come to visit Nigeria, such as
- Edikang ikong, a popular vegetable soup that is common among the Efik people of Cross River State and Akwa Ibom State in the southeast part of Nigeria. It is best eaten with eba, fufu, Wheat or pounded yam.
- Ikokore, a traditional dish originated from the ijebu people of Ogun state and Lagos state in the southwest part of Nigeria. Ikokore is a gotten from water yam and it is eaten with cold eba.
- Efo Riro (Stirred leafy vegetable), a common vegetable soup, with each tribe having their unique style. It's a nutritious vegetable soup, made with spinach, scotch bonnets, tomatoes, peppers, meat or fish, palm oil, locust bean. It can be eaten with any local dish as well as with rice.
In Kogi State, the middle belt region of Nigeria or it could be called the north-central part of Nigeria, Okpa, Ipapa and Agugu is common among the Igala people, it's a popular meal in Kogi.
- Okpa is like a form of moin moin in which a type of bean is used to make it called Bambara bean. The preparation of Okpa is likened to moin moin but with a different type of beans.
- Ipapa is made from corn, where the corn is grounded and it's like a pottage form but not as blended like moin moin, because you still have to chew the corn.
- Agugu made from pigeon beans it is boiled & ingredients are added. The pigeon beans take very long to get soft, it could take like 3hrs to make it soft after that, ingredients are added. This is learned by the Igala a speaking part of Olamaboro town Kogi State.
- Pounded yam with Ogbono soup (Draw soup) is common among the tribes in Edo State in South South Nigeria and is a traditional meal among all tribes. It's made from yam that the pounded yam while the Ogbono is made from the Ogbono seeds (Wild Mango seed), the main ingredient: Ogbono seeds, water, oil, leaf vegetables (bitter leaf and celosia), other vegetables, seasonings, meat/ fish. It can also be found in restaurants.
Side dishes are meals that go along with the main meals, and they are suitable eaten together.
- Moi moi is a common side dish, eaten at homes, parties and work. Moin is a bean pudding. It is a side meal to rice, garri, pap and bread.
- Fried rice: A side meal to Jollof rice.
- Akara (bean cake)
- Asun (spicy smoked goat meat)
- Fried plantain
- Assorted meat pepper soup (Nigeria pepper soup)
- Zahmilah shrimp kebab
- Chicken suya
- Suya (Nigeria Beef suya)
- Tostone: A Latin American side dish, eaten in Nigeria made with green unripe plantain. After frying you mashed it together then sprinkle salt.
- Kelewele: is a Ghanaian side dish but adopted in Nigeria made with rip plantain and seasoned with spices.
- Funkaso, millet pancakes.
- Mosa: A fermented corn ground into a thick paste, fried then sprinkled with sugar.
Puddings and porridge
Every country has its pudding and porridge meals. Here in Nigeria puddings snacks are commonly eaten everywhere.
- Puff- Puff at Donut – a very common dessert in Nigeria and can also be eaten as a snack.
- Coconut Candy – made from coconut fruit and is chewable, crunchy and candy-like. This is eaten in mostly the southwest region.
- Chin Chin – a very popular crunchy snack that is majorly eaten as a dessert. Eaten in every region of Nigeria.
- Akara (Bean Cake) – made from beans, mostly eaten in the south west and north central of Nigeria
- Meatpie – this is a common dessert eaten in every part of Nigeria.
- Donkwa – the dessert mostly common in the north by the Hausas, it's a traditional meal.
- Boiled or Roasted Maize and coconut – a dessert that can be boiled or roasted it is eaten together and is common in the south by the Yorubas.
- Plantain Chips
- Kokoro – most commonly associated with the yoruba people. It is made from a paste of maize flour mixed with sugar and garri and deep-fried. It is commonly sold in Ogun state in Nigeria.
- Kulikuli (Groundnut Cake) – this dessert is also native to the Hausa people of northern Nigeria.
- Shuku Shuku – A dessert made from coconut.
- Kilishi – a very common meat delicacy among the Hausa people of northern Nigeria.
- Kpekere – a Nigerian dessert made from unripe plantains.
- Yoyo – some lightly crushed and fried sprats. Sprats are very active tiny oily fish. Yoyo is a very healthy delicacy containing long-chain omega 3 fatty acids which are very good for the heart and help prevent blood clotting.
- Suya is simply nicely cut beef spiced and grilled over an open flame this is common among the Hausa people and it's eaten in almost all the regions in Nigeria.
- Boli (Roasted Plantain)
- Ukwa (African breadfruit)
The seeds of the African breadfruit are also roasted and eaten as a dessert common among the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria.
In Nigeria, there are two types of porridge; the yam porridge and potato porridge. Both meals are prepared the same way.
- Yam pottage/Yam Porridge (Asaro) – Asaro which is also known as Yam pottage or Yam porridge is a very delicious Yam recipe. While it's eaten by most tribes throughout Nigeria, it is particularly consumed in the Yoruba speaking parts of the country.
- Potato Porridge – another type of porridge in Nigeria. Made from potato, palm oil, salt and spicy.
Breakfast they say its the most important meal of the day, generously in some parts of the world like Nigeria breakfast isn't really considered as an important meal but the most elite in the country take time to eat breakfast, in some regions in the South West and the South East. The majority of the people living in Nigeria who have breakfast are the Yorubas and Igbos have the same type of breakfast settings.
Breakfast is usually eaten around 30 minutes after waking up or by 7AM, Most people don't have time to make breakfast so they check in at a close restaurant nearby to get breakfast. Some restaurants stop serving breakfast between 10 and 11AM while some stop at 9AM, depending the region.
- Akara/Moi-Moi and Akamu/Pap – Moi-Moi and Akara are both meals made from pureed beans and spicy ingredients, full of proteins, light and refreshing. There's just something about Akara and Moi-Moi that makes them perfect for breakfast. It's easy to make and easy to get on the street.
- Bread and tea – the most common breakfast eaten in the world fast to make and easy to consume. The tea is made out of cocoa and milk, while the bread can be toasted or eaten with a spread.
- Noddle and egg – a meal eaten by most children in Nigeria as breakfast before going to school, the egg is fried or boiled.
- Bread and beans or Ewa agoyin are native to the Yoruba people but it is also one of the foods every struggling Nigerian knows well.
- Yam and Egg sauce is a type of breakfast meal is eaten when the family or close relative are around and it's eaten in the dining room.
In the Northern region, they also have their unique meal to start their day with and they take breakfast meals serious before working or going out, some are made at home or sold at the commercial food house or street food sellers. Most Hausa take the following foods as breakfast:
- Koko and kosai:
This food is majority taken by at least 70% of Hausa people take koko and kosai as breakfast, kosai is a meal made from peeled beans formed into a ball and then deep-fried in palm oil. while Koko is porridge and a traditional Hausa food made from millet, maize, guinea corn and tiger nut.
Koko is of different varieties to Hausa food preparations. It is made from the liquefaction of liquid from a grinded millet.
- Kunun aya: a drink made from a tiger nut, similar to tiger milk.
- Waina or Masa:
- Coffee and bread: Hausa people take coffee and bread as breakfast.
Lunch has been a meal most people often eat, while in Nigeria lunch is often common in adolescents/Teenagers and young adults and few Adults eat lunch due to health reasons. List of lunch meals eaten in some regions in Nigeria.
- Chin Chin
This is often eaten in almost all the regions in Nigeria, it can be eaten with soda or soft drinks.
- Puff Puff / Buns
Puff Puff a fried sweet doughy balls.One of the delightful snacks eaten by most Teenagers and Young adults at noon.
- Garri and Groundnut/Coconut
Garri ( Casava flask) with groundnut this meal is common among the yoruba, and it is eaten mostly at noon. It is easy to get around the street.
Doughnuts are snacks made from wheat and sugar paste. fried and served.
Kuli Kuli it is originated from the northern part of Nigeria, made from ground peanuts.
Kokoro is a fried dry snack made from corn and garri (cassava).
- Wara (Cheesecake)
Wara is common with the offa people in Kwara State soft cottage cheese made from fresh cow milk.
- Plantain chips
These are crunchy salty or sweet Nigerian snacks with either ripe or unripe plantains and fried in vegetable oil. Common among children
- Ojojo (Water yam snack)
Ojojo is a snack made from water yam common in South West of Nigeria. It is grated water yam with Peppers, onions and seasoning are mixed with the grated water yam before being deep-fried.
The mentioned snacks can be gotten in any region in Nigeria restaurant, shops and food shops along the road.
Dinner the last meal of the day, it is eaten between 5 and 8 pm, although it can be later but not past 10 pm. Restaurants that serve Nigerian cuisine will usually serve spaghetti or Rice; with chicken fish or turkey; some with coleslaw, salad. In the Southern region homemade meal include Eba(made from cassava), Amala ( Made from yam flour), Pounded yam ( Made from yam), wheat this delicacy is served with soup like Egusi(melon soup), Efo riro (Vegetable soup), ewedu (Jute soup) with fish or meat and this
In the Northern part dinner meals
- Tuwo: made from flour of maize, millet or guinea corn, a thick pudding usually eaten with different kinds of soup, usually, Miyan kuka is the common soup made from powdered dried baobab leaves that have been ground into powder.
- Okro soup (dried and fresh soups ), taushe and others.
Apart from tuwo, other regions rice, beans, and traditional meals are eaten as dinner.
Sachet water in Nigeria is sold in most Provision stores in Nigeria it cost 10 to 20 Naira per one and a bag of water which consist of 24 sachet water cost 150 to ₦200 only depending on the region you find yourself at. In mini restaurants called Buka as the locals would say when you buy a meal in a Buka you get sachet water for free. Apart from sachet, you can also get 75ml bottled water which costs ₦150.
Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea are different beverages though in Nigeria coffee is taken more often than tea. Tea is expensive and it's taken by the elite why coffee is sold at provision stores going for around 100 per sachet. The percentage of coffee seen in Nigeria in higher than tea and it is commonly used by college students and late night workers.
Soft drink is commonly called "Mineral" in Nigeria, and is consumed almost every day, by about 90-95%. It's sold on the street, in traffic. Many people often drink soft drinks regardless of their age because it's non-alcoholic drink. Soft drinks like Coca cola, Fanta, Pepsi, la camera and many more are sold at cheap prices ranging from ₦100-150. Soft drink is taken at lunch with snacks and also served at ceremonies. In restaurants, more soft drinks are sold.
This is made locally in the North by the Hausa. Its popular drink is consumed throughout Nigeria, mostly in the north. It is usually made from grain such as millet or sorghum, although it can be made from maize as well.
This is made in the north from roselle petals.
Tombo Alcoholic bitters is made from high quality plant extracts and herbs.
- Palm wine
Beer is sold in Nigeria and it's taken most by adults the drinking age in Nigeria is 18, once you are 18 you can go to the stores to get alcoholic drinks. But is advisable to drink wisely. The likes of Burukutu and Ogogoro are locally made alcohols in the northern and western parts of Nigeria and sold in other regions. In the north, they often don't drink alcohol as much but some alcohol originate from there because of their religion, it is known as a welcoming drink in the south, Ogogoro
Is an alcoholic beverage, brewed from the grains of guinea corn and millet. Alcoholic beverages are often produced in Tropical African countries like Nigeria, Kenya it's a major traditional and local alcoholic drink.Burukutu is a popular alcoholic beverage with a vinegar-like flavour prepared from sorghum grains and millet. It is widely consumed as food (because it is thick and heavy in the rural areas of northern Nigeria and poor neighbourhoods because it is more affordable than commercially brewed beer.
Is locally fermented from Raffia palm tree juice, where it is known as the country homebrew because it can be made at home well it's gotten from the palm tree and then distilled to reduce the level of alcohol in it.it originates from the southern part of Nigeria
Wine is an alcoholic drink typically made from fermented grapes. Most people don't drink often but it's only on occasion. Wine varies in size, variety also there is locally made wine. Nigeria wine is known as Palm wine mostly used in the southern part of Nigeria.
- Palm wine is an alcoholic beverage produced from the fermentation of sap of different palm species. Palm wine is a sweet, milky, and alcoholic beverage. It's often taken at a beer parlour (beer parlour is a local house where alcoholic drinks are sold).
Apart, from local wine, there are commercial wines like red wine, white wine, velvet fruit wine this can be purchased in stores or malls and also online stores like Jumia, Jiji.
These are occasional drinks sold at restaurants, this is drinks taken on a date with loved ones, friends and family.