Nigeria is a country with a rich and diverse culinary heritage, offering a variety of dishes that reflect the different cultures and regions of the nation. Whether you are a fan of spicy, savoury, or sweet flavours, you will find something to suit your taste buds in Nigerian cuisine. Here are 10 of the most popular and delicious Nigerian dishes that you should not miss.
Jollof rice is arguably the most iconic dish in Nigerian cuisine and a staple at any celebration or gathering. It is a one-pot dish made with long-grain rice cooked in a tomato-based sauce with onions, scotch bonnets, and various spices. The rice absorbs the flavours and colours of the sauce, resulting in a reddish-orange dish that is bursting with aroma and taste. Jollof rice can be enjoyed on its own or with meat, fish, vegetables, or salad as accompaniments.
Egusi soup is a thick and hearty soup made with ground melon seeds, palm oil, dried fish, meat, and leafy vegetables such as spinach, bitter leaf, or ugu. The soup has a nutty and savoury flavor and is often eaten with fufu (a dough-like staple made from cassava, yam, or plantain) or pounded yam. Egusi soup is rich in protein and vitamins and can be customized with different ingredients according to your preference.
Suya is a popular street food in Nigeria, consisting of skewered meat (usually beef, chicken, or ram) that is marinated in a spice mix called yaji and grilled over charcoal. The spice mix contains ingredients such as ground peanuts, ginger, garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt, giving the meat a spicy and smoky flavour. Suya is typically served with sliced onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cabbage, and sprinkled with more yaji for an extra kick.
Pounded Yam and Egusi Soup
Pounded yam is another fufu variety that is made from boiled yams that are pounded into a smooth and stretchy dough. Pounded yam has a neutral taste that complements any soup or stew, especially those with rich and spicy flavours. Pounded yam is eaten by tearing off a small piece of the dough, rolling it into a ball, dipping it into the soup or stew, and swallowing it whole. Pounded yam and egusi soup is a classic combination that will fill you up and satisfy your cravings.
Akara is a deep-fried snack made from black-eyed peas that have been soaked, peeled, blended with onions and peppers, and formed into balls or patties. Akara is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and has a mild bean flavour that pairs well with spicy sauces or dips. Akara is usually eaten for breakfast or as an appetizer, and can be accompanied by bread, pap (a cornmeal porridge), or ogi (a fermented corn drink).
Moi moi is a steamed dish made from pureed black-eyed peas mixed with eggs, onions, peppers, oil, and seasonings. Moi moi can be cooked in banana leaves, aluminium foil, or plastic bags, giving it different shapes and textures. Moi moi can be eaten as a main course or a side dish and can be filled with various ingredients such as boiled eggs, corned beef, fish, or chicken.
Fried rice is another rice dish that is popular in Nigerian cuisine. It is made with cooked rice that is stir-fried with oil, curry powder, turmeric, carrots, green beans, peas, sweet corn, and other vegetables. Fried rice can also include meat, chicken, or shrimp for extra protein. Fried rice has a yellow colour and a mild curry flavour that makes it appealing to many palates.
Ila Alasepo (Okra Soup)
Ila alasepo is a soup made with okra (also known as lady’s fingers), palm oil, crayfish, dried fish, meat, and locust beans (iru). The soup has a slimy texture that helps to swallow fufu or eba. Ila alasepo has a tangy and salty taste that comes from the okra and the locust beans. Ila alasepo is a simple but nutritious dish that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Pepper soup is a spicy broth that can be made with different types of meat, fish, or seafood. The broth is flavoured with hot peppers, ginger, garlic, onions, and various herbs and spices such as uziza (a type of black pepper), utazi (a bitter leaf), and scent leaf (a type of basil). Pepper soup is usually served hot as an appetizer or a main course, and can help to clear the sinuses and warm the body.
Efo riro is a vegetable stew that is made with leafy greens such as spinach, shoko (a type of amaranth), or efo tete (a type of African spinach). The stew also contains palm oil, tomatoes, onions, peppers, crayfish, dried fish, meat, and iru. Efo riro has a rich and savoury flavour that goes well with rice, yam, or fufu.
Moambe (African) Stew
Moambe stew is a dish that originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo but is also popular in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. It is made with chicken or beef that is cooked in a sauce of palm nut cream (also known as Banga), tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices. Moambe stew has a creamy and nutty flavour that is unique and delicious. Moambe stew can be eaten with rice, plantain, or fufu.
Ofada Rice and Ayamase
Ofada rice is a local variety of rice that is grown in southwestern Nigeria. It has a brown colour and a distinct earthy aroma that sets it apart from other types of rice. Ofada rice is usually cooked with palm oil and served with a special sauce called ayamase or ofada stew. The sauce is made from green bell peppers blended with locust beans (iru), crayfish, dried fish, meat, and palm oil.
Banga Soup (Ofe Akwu)
Banga soup is another dish that is made with palm nut cream (Banga), but has a different flavour and consistency from moambe stew. Banga soup is thinner and lighter and is flavoured with ogiri (a fermented sesame paste), dried fish, meat, and spices such as uziza and utazi. Banga soup can also include fresh or dried bitter leaves for extra bitterness. Banga soup is usually eaten with starch (a fufu variety made from cassava), rice, or yam.
Coconut rice is a fragrant rice dish that is cooked with coconut milk and a medley of spices, creating a deliciously aromatic dish. Coconut rice can be made with white or brown rice and can include raisins, nuts, or shredded coconut for extra sweetness and texture. Coconut rice can be eaten as a dessert or as a main course with meat, fish, or vegetable dishes.
Where to Get Nigerian Food in the UK
If you are craving some authentic and tasty Nigerian food in the UK, look no further than EMZ Restaurant Lounge. EMZ is a Nigerian and Afro-Caribbean restaurant that offers a variety of dishes that will satisfy your appetite and your senses.
Whether you want to try some jollof rice, egusi soup, suya, akara, pounded yam, moi moi, or any other Nigerian delicacy, you will find it at EMZ.
You can also enjoy some live music, comedy, and karaoke at EMZ, making it the perfect place to have fun and relax with your friends and family.