Traditional Nigerian Dishes That You Must Try


Nigeria, a West African nation, is the most populated nation on the African continent with a population of over 200 million. Nigeria is one of the most varied nations in the world, with well over 300 distinct ethnic groups calling it home. Food in Nigeria shows this vast cultural diversity. The origins of traditional Nigerian cuisine may be traced to several diverse ethnic groups.

Like many West African cuisines, Nigerian food is renowned for being spicy and flavorful. The most well-known Nigerian meal is probably jollof rice, but there is much more to the cuisine than that, particularly with the availability of hearty soups, stews, and “swallow” dishes.

Unfortunately, Nigerian cuisine isn’t as well-known throughout the world as other cuisines, although the diaspora of Nigerians may be changing that. Nigerian recipe bloggers, many of whom have emigrated to other continents, nevertheless promote Nigerian food and work to popularize it throughout the world. Continue reading to learn more about traditional Nigerian dishes you must try!

What is Nigerian Food?

The more than 250 ethnic groups that make up Nigeria are represented in the cuisine of Nigeria. It has a lot in common with the cuisines of its neighbors in West and Central Africa, including Ghana, Benin, and Cameroon. 

The Nigerian diet is dominated by starchy foods including yam, cassava, plantains, rice, and beans. They are frequently eaten alongside an extensive selection of substantial soups and stews cooked with various cuts of meat and vegetables. Vegetable stews are a favorite among Nigerians, who often eat them many times each week.

Snout to tail eating is the norm in Nigerian cuisine, meaning that very little of the animal is wasted. Beef, goat, lamb, chicken, and turkey are popular meats, whereas water leaves, pumpkin leaves, jute leaves, Lagos spinach, and African spinach are some of the most popular vegetables.

Ground African crayfish, dry ground pepper, and Maggi cubes are typical flavors included in the ingredient lists of many Nigerian cuisines. Additionally popular oils include coconut and groundnut.

Staple Nigerian Dishes to Try



One of the most popular foods in Nigeria is fufu (sometimes spelled foofoo or foufou). It describes a common dish consisting of cooked, crushed, and then molded into balls fermented or unfermented cassava. 

Traditionally, the term “fufu” refers to a common cassava-based Nigerian dish. But as time has gone on, the meaning has been broadened to include other common meals like yam, plantains, maize, wheat, rice, and semo that are created from similarly starchy materials. The word “fufu” refers to a particular cuisine, but it may also be used to refer to a group of starchy staple foods that are popular in Ghana, Nigeria, and other regions of Africa.

Cassava is cooked, skinned, and then chopped into small cubes before being pounded to produce fufu. A large wooden mortar and pestle are often employed. Before being formed into balls and served, the cassava is crushed into a smooth and sticky substance. It is widely consumed throughout western and central Africa and frequently paired with various stews and soups.


One of the most popular foods in Nigeria is fufu (sometimes spelled foofoo or foufou). It describes a common dish consisting of cooked, crushed, and then molded into balls fermented or unfermented cassava. 

In order to make garri, which is a dry granular flour, cassava tubers are peeled, mashed, pressed, dried, and then fried. In order to create a smooth, stiff dough that can be formed into balls and eaten, the garri is next combined with hot water. Eba’s hue ranges from off-white to yellowish. Garri is used to make yellow eba after being cooked in palm oil.

Tuwo Shinkafa

Tuwo shinkafa is a side dish that is added to Nigerian soups and stews to add weight. Its name, which literally translates as “rice meal,” refers to the region of Nigeria’s north where it is most frequently consumed.

You need to cook rice and water together until they create a glutenous paste to produce tuwo shinkafa. Then you steam it after forming it into a soft, sticky ball. Make banga soup and other Nigerian meals to go with your tuwo shinkafa tonight.

Jollof Rice

The national food of Nigeria is this rice dish. It’s one of the most popular Nigerian meals, and it’s frequently the first dish that Westerners think of when they think of Nigerian food.

Rice, tomato, and broth provide the foundation of jollof rice, which is then boiled down with bell peppers, habaneros (also known as scotch bonnet peppers), curry, thyme, and bay leaves. Jollof rice is frequently served as a side dish with chicken and fried plantains in Nigeria. This straightforward yet genuine meal, which can be found on the menu at practically every Nigerian restaurant, gives you a taste of Nigerian cuisine.

Nigerian Soups/Stews to Try

Egusi Soup

Ground egusi, palm oil, onions, hot peppers, locust beans (iru), African crayfish, stockfish, some kind of meat, fish, and green vegetables are generally used to make egusi soup, a one-pot meal. It can be eaten alongside other Nigerian dishes like eba, amala, or pounded yam in addition to fufu.

Ewedu Soup

A delicacy made by the Yoruba people of Nigeria is called ewedu soup. Jute leaves, which are used to make this bright green soup, give it a thick and slimy texture similar to that of okra soup. Egusi, crayfish, and locust beans are typical ingredients in ewedu. Think about serving it with amala, a yam-based alternative to fufu.

Pepper Soup

One of the most popular forms of soup in Africa is pepper soup. It is a hot, watery soup cooked with a variety of meats, including goat, chicken, oxtail, and fish. It’s a hearty Nigerian cuisine that’s frequently relished with beer and eaten in a variety of forms in Ghana, Liberia, and the majority of other western African countries.

variants of pepper soup produced with yam are especially well-liked by new moms, while variants made with chicken are purported to have curative properties. The consumption of yam pepper soup soon after giving birth is said to have a cleaning effect on the uterus and promote milk production.

Ogbono Soup

Ogbono seeds, which are the seeds of a Nigerian plant also known as wild mango or bush mango, are the major component in ogbono soup. Even though every home may have a somewhat different recipe, this soup is often cooked with a mix of green vegetables, fish, and palm oil. If there isn’t African food shops close to your house, you may buy ogbono seeds online.

Banga Soup

Banga soup is a hearty palm nut-based Niger-Delta type soup. Although it originated with the Urhobo people of Nigeria’s Delta State, this continental soup is now enjoyed by many people throughout Africa. Banga soup can be made in a variety of ways depending on where it is from, but it is typically made with fresh palm fruit, a variety of meat, fish, and seafood, as well as spices like scotch bonnet peppers, onions, beletete leaves (bush apple), and oburunbebe sticks (licorice).

Afang Soup

Afang soup with fufu

The leaves of the afang plant, a climbing vine that is indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa, are used to make the soup afang. It’s also known as “wild spinach” in English. Depending on the cook, afang soup may or may not contain palm nut oil, dried fish, crayfish, onions, or other vegetables. Finding afang leaves for this recipe might be challenging if you reside outside of Africa, but you can occasionally get dried afang in your neighborhood African grocery store.

Efo Riro

Another Nigerian delicacy made by the Yuroba people is efo riro. It describes a spinach stew cooked in one pot with red bell peppers, locust beans, onion, palm oil, stockfish, and African crayfish. It can include various kinds of meat or fish and is often cooked with Lagos spinach (efo shoko) or African spinach (efo tete).

Efo riro approximately translates to “stirred spinach” in Yoruba since efo means “spinach” and riro means “to stir”. It can be served with rice or a cuisine that is easy to eat, such as pounded yam, fufu, or eba.

Nigerian Salads/Side Dishes to Try

African Salad (Abacha and Ugba)

Abacha and ugba is the name of an indigenous Igbo meal from eastern Nigeria made with cassava. It’s sometimes referred to as African salad and is a two-part meal prepared from fermented African oil bean seeds (ugba) and dried, shredded cassava (abacha). 

Cassava tubers must first be boiled before being shredded using a specialized grater. After being soaked over the night, the cassava shreds are then cleaned and dried outside in the sun. When the abacha is prepared, it is combined with the sliced ugba and a variety of additional ingredients, including palm oil, dried fish, crushed African crayfish, locust beans, ground ehu seeds (calabash nutmeg), ponmo, and an egg that has been hard-boiled. Abacha with ugba is a hearty Nigerian cuisine, however it’s more frequently eaten as a snack than a complete meal.


Cooked dodo

Ripe plantains that have been deep-fried and caramelized are known as dodo. They can be served as a side dish to Nigerian dishes like jolllof rice, white rice, beans, and ewa riro (stewed beans) or eaten on their own with eggs and tomato sauce.

Moin Moin

It is also known as moi moi or moyi moyi in Nigeria. Using a combination of black-eyed peas, habanero chiles, bell peppers, palm oil, and onions, moin moin is a spicy steamed bean pudding. By soaking the peas, processing them to remove the skins, seasoning them, and steaming the paste, you may produce moin moin. Moin moin can be made by hand or, for simpler cleanup, in a ramekin.

Nigerian Meat Dishes to Try


Gizdodo is a typical Nigerian meal that is made with stewed fried chicken gizzard and dodo as its two primary components. It is frequently offered as an appetizer or a side dish alongside Nigerian dishes like jollof rice at parties and other occasions. Pieces of chicken gizzard are boiled, then deep-fried to make gizdodo. After that, they are combined with fried plantains in a tomato, bell pepper, hot pepper, onion, and onion-based sauce.


The Yoruba-speaking Ondo people of western Nigeria are known for their spicily grilled goat dish known as asun. It is often prepared with a skin-on goat that has been slowly roasted before being cut up and sautéed in a sauce comprised of onions, bell peppers, habanero, paprika, and other ingredients. In Nigeria and other parts of West Africa, goat meat is highly esteemed and frequently the meat of choice for gatherings, special events, and holidays like Christmas.


A common component in many Nigerian dishes, including egusi soup, ofada stew, gbegiri soup, and African salad, is ponmo (also known as kanda). It refers to cowhide that has been prepared for usage and consumption similar to beef. To make ponmo, the cowhide must first be roasted in order to soften the skin and aid in hair removal. After further softening it with water, the delicate skin from the ears and nose is separated from the harder skin of the leg. The last step involves utilizing a variety of specialized instruments to fully remove any residual hair.

Nigerian Street Foods to Try


A spicy beef meal served on skewers that is known as suya (or tsire) is very popular in Nigeria and other regions of West Africa. It is prepared with skewered, grilled meats such beef, chicken, ram, and offal that have been marinated in a sophisticated spice blend known as yaji. Suya is a delicious protein dish that is a Hausa recipe. Usually, it’s cooked using marinated meat or chicken that’s been roasted on a stick. The spice mixture used to season the meat is known as “suya.” A groundnut sauce is frequently added to suya in Nigeria to complete the meal.

Ewa Agoyin

In Nigeria, notably in Lagos, ewa agoyin (or ewa aganyin) is a very popular street snack. A fiery stew comprised of bell peppers, chili peppers, onions, and palm oil is served with extremely soft or mashed beans. Black-eyed peas can also be used, but Nigerian honey beans, or ewa oloyin, are preferred.

Although it is frequently prepared in many Yoruba homes as well, ewa agoyin is frequently marketed as street food. This hearty meal is typically served with soft bread, cooked yams, or dodo.


Black-eyed pea fritters are referred to as akara (or kosai). It is a typical breakfast meal and street cuisine from Nigeria that is well-liked across West Africa and in Brazil, where it is known as acarajé. The dish is thought to have been brought to Brazil by slaves from West Africa.

The only ingredients in akara are black-eyed peas, onions, salt, and pepper. In that it’s created using pureed black-eyed peas, it’s comparable to moin moin; however, deep-frying is used instead of steaming. It may be consumed on its own or with other Nigerian dishes like bread or pap (an African corn pudding).


Nigeria has a vibrant cuisine culture and an extensive history. These traditional Nigerian recipes are a great place to start if you want to bring a flavor of Nigeria home. As this list demonstrates, there is much more to enjoy about Nigerian cuisine than just jollof rice, which is one of the most well-known Nigerian dishes and for good reason. We hope this post makes you even more eager to sample Nigerian food if you haven’t already since more and more Nigerian restaurants are appearing in major cities throughout the world.