Nigerian cuisine is excellent. Very hearty and full of carbohydrates and meat. We really don’t believe in all the fad diets that seem to be so prevalent in first world countries. In fact, one should realise that for most people, it is a fortunate thing to be able to afford three square meals a day.
A diet is usually accidental because the wages are so low, it becomes impossible to eat well. It’s really a first world problem to have so much waste and choice. There are three major tribes in Nigeria. The Yorubas are in the South. The two other major tribes are Igbo in the East, and Hausa in the North. They have their own different food and ingredients that l am not familiar with, and for the purposes of this post, I will focus on the food of the Yorubas as that is my tribe.
African Food : Nigerian Food
You will find a lot of similarities between countries in Africa. The climate tends to be the same which therefore means the same staples grow. What differs is usually how the food is prepared and the spices employed in the African recipes.
Another common bond is pepper. I’m not sure why we don’t consider something edible until it is so spicy, you cry as you eat. I know in Nigeria, a lot of men eat with a cold towel on their head to cool off from eating insanely spicy food. It is also common to hear the oohs aahs as they try to catch their breath. Insane.
Nigerian Dishes: The best and local Yoruba food favourites
- Bread Agege
- Moin Moin
- Meat Pie
The Nigerian food culture is starch, starch and more starch.Here are some of the most favourite Nigerian dishes of locals, for lunch, dinner and our breakfast staple. African dishes like these will be served at both restaurants and on the street. Most people eat street food and restaurant eating is
Iyan and Obe: (Obe ati ‘Yan)
In the good old days, Iyan (Yam) was pounded in an authentic wooden container mortar and pestle called Odo. It is a very labor intensive process as the yam has to be broken down and pounded until it has a consistency similar to the one below, something that can take an hour!
The end result is absolutely delicious and is a staple of Nigerian food. It is also a street food that one can get at stall on the side of the road. If you’re lucky enough to eat Iyan, you should.
Moin-Moin is a staple of Nigerian Cuisine
Moin moin is a kind of bean pudding. Black eyed peas are soaked, peeled and cooked in a mixture of onions, and peppers. This mixture is folded into leaves and steam cooked (you can also add sardines, boiled eggs etc) into your mixture. It goes on to form a solid protein rich meal that can be eaten alone, with bread, custard, rice or whatever your heart desires.
Agege Bread: This is another staple for all Nigerians. The bread is a sweet, soft, chewy and extremely delicious bread. I am positive it’s not great for you, but l don’t care. It is perfect with butter, eggs, and other foods like a moin moin sandwich. There is no bad way to eat Agege bread. It is something l miss with a passion.
Related: Favorite Nigerian Snacks
Another local favorite of Nigerian cuisine. Eba is fried and grated cassava flour that is called Gari. Gari itself is perfect as a dish combined with moin moin or just peanuts. The gari is blended by hand over a hot stove with boiling water to a solid state free of “konko” (clumps). Once again, it is eaten with all sorts of stew.
This is technically a Nigerian snack, but a lot of people eat it as a meal. Similar to ones in Jamaica and other countries, a meat pie is a pastry filled with minced meat, potatoes, peas and spices and baked to a golden colour. It is hearty and delicious and makes a perfectly fine meal.
Amala is a top Nigerian food that is made with yam or cassava flour. When yam which is originally white in colour is dried, it takes on a brown colour. The flour called Elubo is then blended over a hot stove in boiling water to form the amala. Amala is served with a stew, anything from ila (leaves), to okra, to egusi (melon seed).
You will find jollof at any Nigerian celebration, from birthdays to weddings to funerals. This is plain white rice in a rich red stew base and mixed with different condiments like fish, carrots, boiled eggs and whatever you like. There is a fisherman jollof rice that is similar to Spanish paella in that it has seafood in it.
There is plain jollof, like in the below image, and another favourite of mine, coconut jollof rice. You just can’t go wrong. It is not only popular in Nigeria, but in other West African countries and each country of course thinks they have the best jollof. It is served either alone, or with plantain, meat, veggies etc..
The very same yam that is used to make all these Nigerian dishes is also awesome on its own. Simply sliced and boiled yam with a little bit of salt and you can pair with plain stew or fried egg as in the top image. This can also be eaten for breakfast.
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What do you think of these Nigerian meals and dishes ? Does anything strike you as appetizing? Would you be willing to try them or have you had a chance to try any? It would be nice to hear your thoughts.