The culture of Nigeria is often considered to be centered around its delicious foods – Nigerian Cuisine is an experience. Eating together, sharing tasty meals around a low table, sitting on the floor or cushions, using your freshly washed hands or perhaps just a fork or spoon, to eat while laughing and enjoying each other’s company is integral to the Nigerian lifestyle.
And let me tell you, the food in Nigeria is wonderful!
On this page you will find several of what are considered the best, classic Nigerian food recipes, as well as some traditional Nigerian food recipes, all of which will open up a whole new world of culinary delight to anyone not yet familiar with the delicious eats coming out of this small African country.
Are you ready to begin your ethnic food adventure, into the culture of Nigeria, where are found some of the best African foods recipes on the entire continent?
Good. Me too. Let’s get started, shall we?
Classic, Authentic, and Traditional Nigerian Cuisine
Please note: For your convenience, you can click on the recipes listed directly below and be taken directly to a page with just that one recipe on it, in printer-friendly format. You are certainly welcomed to read through this whole page, lots of the recipes are here as well, and there are some videos and pertinent information on background, history, customs, special notes, etc., so it is well worth the read.
Here is the list, in alphabetical order:
Ugali (corn meal doughy mash – a Nigerian favorite accompaniment to many meals)
Garden Egg Sauce/Stew
Garden Egg Stew is a popular dish in lots of African countries. I first tasted this complex and delicious stew in my wife’s homeland, Ghana, and you can find that recipe on the page: Ghanaian Cuisine.
But the Nigerians put their own unique twist on the ever popular meal, so it warrants posting it here as its own special way to make the stew.
It is typically served with (and goes great with!) boiled yams, or boiled or fried plantains, and always have some freshly made white rice to go with it.
Enjoy – you are in for a very special treat!
- 8 big garden eggs (Note: if you can’t get real fresh African garden eggs, which are the African strain of the aubergine, or eggplant, you can use canned garden eggs – you just won’t need to boil them first before mashing & blending them into the stew)
- 1 cup red palm oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 habanero Pepper, minced)Salt to taste
- A few small ogiri okpei (sometimes called “iru” – if you can’t get it locally, it is basically a fermented black beans product, which you can get if you Click Here)
- 2 small or 1 large smoked mackerel
Some Important Notes on Ingredients and Alternatives
- Use only small, baby garden eggs. Older garden eggs, allowed to grow on the vine beyond fresh maturity, will have seeds that are tough – very hard to grind by hand in the mortar and pestle, if you are using a blender they are rough even for that appliance to grind up.
- Nigerians most favor the color of the stew when using the white garden eggs variety. You can use the green variety, (or the purple baby eggplants/aubergines found in the Americas), but if you want to stay true to the authentic all Nigerian food recipe, use the white variety.
- Palm oil is an essential ingredient for this recipe! Any other oil will not reproduce the special delicious flavor of this classic Nigerian food recipe, and vegetable or olive oils will not produce the unique color, either.
- Ogiri okpei (iru) is a traditional seasoning made from fermented locust beans. If you do not have it, use fermented black beans and grind them into a seasoning powder.
- Boiled mackerel can be substituted for the smoked mackerel, but if at all possible go with smoked – it adds a flavor you will miss out on with the boiled fish.
- Make a puree out of the garden eggs. There are several ways to do this (see video below), using a mortar and pestle and/or a blender.
- Pour the garden egg puree into a clean pot and cook until all or almost all of the water dries up, then set aside.
- Pour the palm oil into a clean dry pot and heat it up. Don’t bleach it, just heat until a small chop of onion sizzles when tossed into the hot oil.
- As soon as the oil is at just the right heat, add in all the chopped onion – fry for about 2 minutes.
- Next, pour in the garden egg puree and stir for a while. Cover the pot and fry/cook the mixture for several minutes, stirring again and again.
- Repeat this fry/cook/stir process until all the remaining water in the puree has evaporated out. At this point the palm oil will have separated (rising up) from the puree.
- Take the ogiri okpei seasoning (or the ground fermented black beans) and the minced habanero pepper and blend them together, then add that seasoning mixture into the pot, stir in well, and then add salt to your taste and stir some more.
- Add the smoked fish, stir, cover and leave to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes for all the flavors to blend well, and … it’s done!
Nigerian Fried Rice
Nigerians love fried rice and they prepare it with their own special panache. A favorite dish for all kinds of occasions: weddings, birthday parties, picnics, street parties, and other special events.
And it’s easy to prepare, so much so that it can be a regular weekend treat coming out of your own home kitchen. This Nigerian food recipe will make you feel like you are on an island called paradise.
- 26 oz. (750g) long grain rice, parboiled
- Vegetable Oil
- Chicken (whole chicken or chicken drumsticks)
- 3-1/2 oz. (100g) Cow Liver
- 1 tbsp. Plain Yellow Curry Powder (for color, mostly, you don’t want chili flavored curry)
- Green Beans (a handful)
- 5 medium sized carrots (note: you can also use peas, and celery is often used too. A matter of preference)
- Salt (to taste)
- 3 medium onions
- 3 Knorr seasoning cubes (an absolute must ingredient for authentic Nigerian flavor!)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Prep Cook Instructions:
Wash and Chop the vegetables-
Peel the tough outer skins off the carrots and chop them into tiny cubes. Cut the green beans into 1/4″ pieces. Soak these 2 vegetables separately in hot water for about 5 minutes and drain. Cut 1 bulb of onion. Set all these aside.
If you are also going to include celery, use tender inside stalks, wash thoroughly, and chop into very small pieces. If including peas, other than washing, if necessary, they are ready as is.
Cook the Chicken and Liver-
- Boil the cow liver until tender, and then chop it into little (about 1/4″ to 1/2″) cubes. You can cook the liver with the chicken, to move the preparation time along quicker.
- Cut chicken into pieces and boil it with the Knorr cubes, thyme and 2 of the onions, chopped. After the chicken is cooked through (no blood around the bone), deep fry the pieces in vegetable oil, or grill them in an oven. You want to get that appealing golden brown look makes the finished dish look so warm and inviting.
- Parboil the rice (cook just until still quite chewy, about half as soft as you will want it when fully cooked), to ensure that the grains will not clump and stick together when the rice dish is done. Use cold water to rinse the parboiled rice, and then drain off the water in a sieve.
- After cooking your chicken, if the stock has traces of onion, spices, etc. in it, pour the stock into a sieve to remove them. Pour the cleaned stock into a pot and heat to a boil. As soon as the water boils, add the parboiled rice, and then add 1 tablespoon of plain yellow curry powder, and salt to taste. The plain yellow curry powder is small part of the flavor blend you want, but it is mostly for color, so it should not be the kind of curry that contains hot chilli.
- Keep the water at just at, or slightly below, the level of the rice. You want this to make sure all of the water is dried up once the rice is cooked – overcooking will not produce a good finished dish, which is such that the rice and grains are not clumped and/or stuck together. As soon as the rice is cooked just right, stir the contents well, cover the pot and let it cook some more, on medium heat. This ensures that the rice doesn’t burn before the water has fully dried up.
- As soon as all the water has cooked and evaporated out, the rice should be cooked just right. When the rice is still just a little chewy, but not hard to the bite, and when the grains are well separated from one another, your rice is cooked to perfection.
- The next step is to cool the rice rather quickly. Do this by putting it in a casserole dish or another pot, fluffing and spreading it to aerate the rice. This step is important, as it will help to keep the grains from clumping and sticking together. Because the pot you cooked it in is still hot, leaving the rice in there would have the rice continuing to cook, hence the rice will eventually get sticky – which you do not want.
- You are going to fry the rice in batches, so you will want to divide the vegetables into 4, 5 or 6 equal parts, depending on the amount of rice your pot or pan can handle at one time. The same dividing into equal portions step also applies to your cooked rice, the chopped onions, and the cooked, diced cow liver.
- Take your frying pan and pour in a small amount of vegetable oil – just enough for one of the divided portions each of the cooked rice, diced cow liver, chopped onions, and vegetables. Test the oil to see if it is hot enough, by dropping a droplet or two of water in the pan; if the droplets sizzle and pop, the oil is hot and ready. Now add one part of diced onions and stir for 10 to 15 seconds, then add in one portion of diced cow liver, one portion of the diced vegetables, and one portion of cooked rice.
- Repeat step 7 until all your rice, onions, liver, and vegetables are fried, adding each cooked portion into one pot large enough to hold the entire finished dish.
- Do a taste test now, for the level of salt you want, and add more if you think it is needed. Also at this point you can assess the color of your fried rice and, if necessary, add in more curry powder if it hasn’t got that desired yellow zing look. Stir all the ingredients well, mixing until they are well blended and proportionately spread throughout the entire dish.
- You are done! Enjoy now one of the most classic Nigerian food recipes, and make sure to share it with lots of friends and family – they will love you for it!
Also, for those of you who like to have a more visual presentation on how to cook Nigerian Fried Rice, enjoy this video – it is not very long, and very well done and informative.
Ugba Ukpaka Sauce
This remarkably distinct and absolutely delicious sauce first originated in Eastern Nigeria, but it soon became a nationwide favorite. Once you’ve tasted this, you’ll understand why. And if you have people over? Make up a big batch – it will disappear faster than you can say, “Ugba Ukpaka”!
- 7 oz. (200g) Ugba (also Known as Ukpaka)
- 1 medium sized smoked dry fish – mackerel is a very popular choice
- 2 scotch bonnet peppers (also Known as Yellow pepper/ Nsukka pepper)
- 4 tbsp. red palm Oil (Or Less)
- 1 cup whole dried crayfish
- 1 red onion
- 10 utazi leaves “Gongronema latifolium” – use fresh if you can get them, but you can also use dried utazi leaves and rehydrate them
- 1 seasoning cube – use either maggi, or knorr
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Use clean water and wash the smoked fish. Remove the guts and bones, rinse again, and set aside.
- Peel off the onion’s skin, rinse the yellow pepper, and bot aside.
- Put the Ugba in a blender (after rinsing thoroughly, at least twice), and add into the blender the smoked fish, onion, crayfish, and yellow pepper.
- Blend the ingredients together until the mixture is just chunky—not smooth.
- Put a medium sized pot on the burner and pour the palm oil; heat the oil on medium heat for a couple minutes. Now carefully pour the blended Ugba mixture into the oil.
- Next add in the seasoning cube (crush it first) and the salt, and stir. Leave the sauce to cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, with the cover on the pot.
- Wash the utazi leaves (if using fresh) while the sauce cooks. Roll the leaves up together. Cut off the stalks and toss them away. Chop the whole roll of leaves into little slices and set aside.
- Turn the burner off once the sauce is done, and serve immediately. Traditionally Ugba Sauce is served with plantain or yam, boiled or roasted, and garnished with sprinkles of chopped slices of utazi leaves.
Nigerian Meat Pie
When I saw this recipe, I just had to try it right away. It is a Nigerian snack that is very popular nationwide, and once you’ve tasted it you will most likely add it to your list of preferred snacks, too.
Prepared properly (and this recipe will do that), it is tender and moist, and bursts in your mouth with a marvelous bouquet of texture and flavor. The filling of minced meat, carrot, and potato and carrot filling is seasoned in the special Nigerian way, giving the pie its unmistakably unique taste.
Note: I know this recipe looks, at first sight, as rather long and daunting. But be not dismayed. It does take some time, yes, but each step in itself is very easy, and the finished product is well worth the effort.
You can find Nigerian Meat Pie recipes that have fewer steps and look easier. But that is because they have not included all the tips and techniques that this recipe has, that will make your meat pies the very best, and the absolutely fabulous, authentic Nigerian ethnic food experience that you want.
For the pie dough-
- 1 Kg (2.2 lbs) All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp. Baking Powder
- 500g (1.1 lbs) Margarine
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 125ml (1/2 cup) Cold Water
For the pie filling-
- 2 medium-sized Irish potatoes
- 2 medium-sized carrots
- 500g (1.1 lbs) of minced meat (beef, goat, and lamb are favorites, although you could use chicken, for a less hearty, heavy meat pie)
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 2-3 tbsp. of Vegetable Oil
- 2 Knorr cubes (an absolute must ingredient!)
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 250 ml (1 cup) Cold water
- garlic powder (optional, for those who like that garlicky flavor)
- salt to taste
- 2 large eggs
For the filling-
- Wash and peel the Irish potatoes and the carrots, then chop them into very small (1/4″ to 1/3″) cubes.
- Peel the onions until you get to the tender layers, then wash, slice, and chop them into small chunks.
- Heat the oil in a pot over medium to medium high heat, then add the diced onions. Stir and cook until soft and translucent. Add in the minced meat and vigorously stir. Keep cooking and stirring until the meat is nicely browned.
- Now add in 1 cup of water, thyme, and (crushed) Knorr cubes. Cover the pot. As soon as the contents starts boiling, add in the diced potatoes and carrots, stir and blend all the ingredients together well. Cook until everything is well done, stirring occasionally.
- Dissolve 2 tablespoons of the all-purpose flour in a half cup of cold water and mix that thoroughly into the cooked pie filling. This step is the secret to making a meat pie that comes out of the oven nice and moist. The flour additive keeps the filling from drying up during the baking.
- Now salt the filling to taste, stir the contents well, and turn the burner off. Set the filling aside while you make the pie dough.
For the pie dough:
Note: Nigerians often refer to margarine as butter, and visa versa. But do not substitute butter for real Margarine in this recipe, for two reasons. One, butter is too hard, will not blend into the mixture as easily, and two, even if you use melted butter, or butter softened to room temperature, you simply will not get the desired result of a crumbly texture. Butter is much heavier than Margarine, which will ruin the elasticity of the dough, and produce a baked crust that is too greasy.
- Put the 1 kg (2.2 lb) of flour in a large bowl; add in 2 teaspoons of baking powder and one teaspoon of salt. Resist over-salting, you really don’t want this dough to be very salty. You want – and will get – most of the pie’s unique flavor from the filling. Mix dry ingredients together thoroughly.
- Scoop the margarine in small bits into the bowl of flour. It is important that you make the bits of margarine very small; it will make it much easier to mix and blend them into the flour.
- Using your fingers, mash and mix the margarine into the flour well enough until the whole blended mixture take on a texture of a bowl full of crumbs.
- Now, start adding in cold water in small amounts, and at the same time folding the mix until you have a stiff ball of dough. This takes a surprisingly small amount of water, so be careful not to add too much at a time. Before you know it, you will have a large ball of nicely stiffened dough. To make sure you don’t overdo it, have only one half cup of water at your side during this step.
- Now knead the dough very well, and then put it back in the bowl. Allow it to sit 6 or 7 minutes. This last step is what will give the dough more elasticity
To cut, fill, close, and bake the pies-
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C (335°F).
- To make sure the meat pies do not stick during baking, take the oven tray you will bake them on, rub Margarine on the insides, and set aside.
- Break open the egg, and beat the yoke and whites together, set it aside for use very soon.
- Take your knead dough, and now knead it some more, then roll the dough out, until you have it down to a thickness of about 5mm (1/5″).
- Now you cut the dough into circles. For this you can use the lid of a small pot, or a pizza pie rolling cutter, or anything else handy in your kitchen that will do the job.
- Once you have all your dough cut into rounds, discard any excess dough.
- Into the center of each dough round, scoop some filling – just enough so that you can easily still close the dough up together without any filling spilling or oozing out. If you over-fill the first one, hey – no worries, you have lots of attempts to go, and soon you will get the proportions just right.
- Now rub the whipped egg mixture on the inside edge of dough where it will meet at the point of roll-up/closure. This step is important, because it is the egg mix that will “glue” the folded pie together and keep it sealed during the baking process.
- You’re almost done. Now you fold up one side of the round dough to meet the other, lay the half circle you now have on one side and, using a fork, crimp the two edges together for a secure, tight seal. Repeat this for all your filling-holding dough rounds.
- Place all the sealed pies on the baking tray, and take a few seconds to admire your culinary artistry (wink), then put the loaded tray into the oven.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the type and heating capacity of your particular oven. The first time you make these pies, you should check on them in a half an hour, and you may even find that you will need to let them bake for a full hour. You will know the pies are done when they turn a pleasant golden brown color. Since the filling was already cooked prior to baking the pies, it is really just the crust you are concerned with at this final step.
Here is a video that will take you through the steps, so you can visualize how you will go about making this dish in your kitchen.
Nigerian Fried Tomato Stew
While not a stew that you would usually prepare as an entree in itself, Nigerian Fried Tomato Stew is that special ingredient used with such national favorite dishes as: Beef and Chicken Stew, Jollof Rice, and Coconut Rice. Or you can simply serve the stew with rice and some fried or grilled meat, such as chicken, beef, goat, or lamb.
Whatever your intended use, if you are a fan of traditional Nigerian food recipes, making up a big batch of this distinctively tasting stew is a must-do item. Trust me, you’ll see why once you’ve tasted it.
1.5 kg (3-1/3 pounds) Fresh Roma Plum Tomatoes
200 grams (7 oz.) Tomato paste
1 liter Vegetable Oil
2 or 3 medium sized onions
1 to 3 Habanero Peppers, depending on how spicy hot your tastes are. (These little peppers are HOT, so if you’re not familiar with them, get your palate acquainted with just a tiny nibble, to evaluate how much will suit your tastes)
2 Knorr seasoning cubes, crushed
Salt, to taste
Prep Cooking Instructions:
- Wash the fresh plum tomatoes and blend them. You may want to remove the seeds, depending on your blender. If it is strong enough to puree the seeds, this step is not necessary. You just don’t want the seeds to be whole in the finished stew.
- Open the can of tomato paste and set it to the side and at the ready for use very soon.
- Peel the tough outer skins off the onions and chop the rest into small pieces.
- Remove stems from peppers and chop into small pieces, then add into the blender with the pureed tomatoes and blend on high (puree) speed until well mixed with the puree.
- Using a large pot on high heat, pour in the fresh blended tomato and pepper puree and cook until nearly all the water has cooked out.
- Now reduce the heat to low and add the tomato paste and the crushed Knorr cubes, stirring it well together and blended with the tomato/pepper puree. Keep cooking and simmering the mixture until it has been dried of as much water in it as possible.
- Next, add in a generous amount of the vegetable oil—more than you would think is enough, any excess will be drained off later, but better too much at this stage than not enough.
- Now add in the chopped onions and stir together with the mixture thoroughly.
- Continue to fry/simmer at very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the oil is completely separated from the tomato mixture, which by now is a tomato puree. You will know when the puree is well fried when it has streaks of oil through it, as opposed to the smooth mix of the tomato/pepper puree and oil when you first mixed them together. Also, the excess oil will have risen to the top, with the oil-streaked puree underneath.
- Now for a taste test. See if the raw tomato taste is gone. After you get used to this recipe, you will be able to know when the puree is fried to perfection even without the taste test. You will know by the distinctive aroma it gives off.
- As soon as you are sure that the water has cooked out as much as possible, and you are happy with the taste, tilt your pot over an empty bowl and pour out the excess vegetable oil.
- Your Nigerian Fried Tomato Stew is now ready to use. If you are not going to use it right away, allow it to cool, then put it in proper sealable containers and store it in your freezer.
Nigerian Chicken and Beef Stew
Nigerian Beef and Chicken Stew is really just Tomato Stew with the addition of cooked meat. And, while the chicken and beef stew is the most often used combination, you can use other meats and get just as delicious a stew. Lamb, goat, even fish can be, and often are, used in this classic Nigerian food recipe.
- Fried Tomato Stew (See recipe above)
- 1 Whole Chicken, cut into pieces: legs, thighs, wings, halved breasts (Get a hen, they are more tender than roosters)
- 2 pounds beef sirloin, cut into large chunks
- 1 large or 2 small onions, peeled and rough chopped
- Salt (to taste)
- 1 Knorr cube
- 1 tbsp. dried thyme
- In a large pot with about a quart of water, cook the chicken with the chopped onions, Knorr cube and thyme.
- In another large pot, heat up a generous portion of your pre-cooked Fried Tomato Stew. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to just a simmering point, and keep the stew simmering while you prepare the meats.
- Once the chicken is close to done, add in the beef and continue cooking until both meats are well done.
- Next add in the salt, and let the meats simmer for another 4 or 5 minutes, after which you transfer all the pot’s contents to a sieve (placed suspended over an empty bowl, and allow all the juices to drain. (Save the juices – they will come in handy as a base stock for lots of future soups, stews, sauces, etc.)
- An optional step at this point is to fry, broil, or grill the meat. Mostly do this if you want to achieve that warm, rich golden brown appearance.
- Now add your cooked meat to the simmering stew, stirring well, and allow it to now cook and meld together for at least 30 minutes, and even up to two hours. The longer the simmer together time is, the tastier the meat will be, and the tastier the stew sauce will be.
You are ready to eat! Serve with fresh cooked white rice, and enjoy this, one of the most popular of all of the traditional Nigerian food recipes.
Nigerian Yam and Vegetables with Ukpaka
This recipe is a basic leafy, vegetable and yam and vegetable mixture. What I like about it a lot is, you can use almost any of your favorite leafy vegetables, such as: spinach, collards, turnip greens, amaranth, etc.
What gives it that unique, traditional Nigerian food recipe flavor is in the seasonings, namely the Maggi or Knorr cubes, and the Ukpaka.
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) Yam
- 1 kg (2.2 lb)) Leafy Vegetable, your choice: spinach, turnip greens, fluted pumpkin, amaranth, etc., and you can mix and match, also
- Red Palm Oil
- 4 Okra – fresh if you can get it, or fresh frozen, or canned okra
- Handful of Ukpaka or Ugba
- 2 Medium Sized Onions
- Chilli Pepper Powder (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- Nigerian Seasoning: – 2 Maggi cubes or 2 Knorr cubes
Prep Cook Instructions:
- Peel and cut the yam tuber into 2 inch cubes. Wash the yam cubes and place in a good sized pot.
- Wash and cut the leafy vegetables you’ve chosen. If you are using frozen leaves (and that’s okay) allow them to defrost just enough to where you can chop them into small pieces. Once they are fully unthawed, wrap in a clean cloth and wring out any and all excess water.
- Take the ukpaka, rinse it, and chop the okra and onions and okra into tiny pieces. Place the ukpaka and chopped onions and okra in a separate pot, and add in the chili powder (to your tastes), and set the whole mixture to the side.
Note: 4 okra might seem like not very much for a large pot dish like this, but the okra is not a main ingredient – it is mostly included because of its ability to help the vegetables to stick together.
- Pour enough water to cover the yam cubes; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a lively simmer, and cook until the cubes are tender, and the water will take on a porridge-like look and texture.
- Pour the yam-water out of the pot (save it in a bowl), leaving the yam cubes in the pot. You want to keep the cubes hot, so cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.
- Now add into the pot containing the vegetables, some of the yam-water (1 or 2 large soup spoons full). Simmer-cook until all the vegetables are well tenderized and soft, but not overcooked – you don’t want them to get mushy.
- Once the vegetables are well cooked, put them and other ingredients (the Maggi or Knorr cubes, ukpaka, onions and okra, prepped beforehand) into the pot containing the yam cubes. Also add in the palm oil, and salt to taste.
- Use a wooden spoon and stir vigorously until all the ingredients have mixed well, and simmer-cook for a while longer, stirring occasionally, to let all the ingredients’ flavors mix and blend together well. 20 to 30 minutes should be about right.
- And now … your yam and vegetables with ukpaka dish is ready to be served!
Serve this scrumptious dish with fried plantain or it is also excellent just by itself.
Nigerian Jollof Rice and Chicken
Jollof Rice is a popular dish in many African countries. Each country has its own special twist they put on it, and Nigeria is no exception. Typically served with fried or grilled chicken and fried beans (that recipe you will find below), this is one of the best, classic, traditional Nigerian food recipes you will ever taste.
- 2 cups (500g or 17 oz.) uncooked long grain white rice
- 500 ml (17 oz.) Tomato Stew (see Nigerian Fried Tomato Stew recipe above)
- Chicken (whole chicken, drumsticks or chicken breast)
- Pepper and salt (to taste)
- 2 medium onions (chopped)
- 1 cup green peas
- 1 cup chopped into small (1/4”) cubes carrots
- 3 Knorr cubes
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- If you are using a whole chicken, wash and cut it into pieces. Cook in a pot of boiling water, with the thyme, Knorr cubes and chopped onions, until the meat is good and tender. If you can get a hen, your chicken will be tastier and more tender than a rooster, although the rooster will cook a bit faster.
- While the chicken is boiling, put your rice on to parboil. It is cooked enough when it only about halfway as tender as you would want it to be for eating – still a quite chewy and a little tough to bite down on.
- After the chicken is boiled to well done and tender, grill it, or pan fry, or broil in an oven. You want the chicken pieces to have a warm, inviting golden brown look, especially if entertaining guests for the meal. Keep the chicken warm in the oven on its lowest warm temperature.
- Now wash your parboiled rice drain it in a sieve.
- Take your chicken stock and the tomato stew, and into a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Now add in the drained parboiled rice, and add salt and pepper to taste. At this point, the water level in the pot should be even with the level of the rice. Adjust as necessary, because this is the right proportion to be sure the water is all cooked and dried out by the time the rice is perfectly cooked.
- Reduce the heat now, to where the ingredients are cooking at just a lively simmer. Too high of a heat will burn the rice before it can become perfectly cooked. Put the lid on the pot and allow it to simmer until you can tilt the pot and no water is seen seeping down the side of the pot.
- You are done! Scoop generous portions of the Jollof rice onto your guests’ plates, add a couple pieces of chicken as well, and also well-loved with this meal is some Nigerian Fried Beans.
Here also is a good video presentation on how to cook this dish.
Nigerian Fried Beans
I don’t care if you’ve never liked beans before – no matter how they are prepared. This classic Nigerian food recipe will turn you bean eater for sure. The dish will tantalize your nose with aroma, and burst in your mouth with such delectable flavor, you will want to eat beans prepared the Nigerian way for the rest of your life!
- 350 g (12 oz) brown or black-eyed beans
- 2 onions
- 3 tbsp. red palm oil (or more)
- 1 or 2 Knorr seasoning cubes
- Salt to taste
- 1 Habanero pepper
Prep Cook Instructions:
- Soak the beans in cool water overnight. This is an important step, because it radically decreases the beans bloating when cooked, and also the gastritis and upset stomach so often associated with eating beans.
- When you’re about to prepare your bean dish, chop 1 of the onions into thin slices, and quarter the other onion and pound and grind it into a chunky mash. Note: if you want to have the authentic Nigerian cooking experience, use a mortar and pestle for this step. But if you prefer to avoid the manual labor, you can of course blend the onion into a mash, but control the blending so that the mash is still kind of chunky.
- Take your pre-soaked beans, rinse them thoroughly, twice if necessary, and put into a large cooking pot.
- Sauté the sliced onions with a few drops of oil to soften them and turn them slightly translucent.
- Place your pot of beans on the stove. Crush the Knorr cube(s) and add that in, as well as the chunky mashed onion. Now add in just enough water to cover the beans, bring to a boil, and start cooking. Keep cooking the beans until nice and tender all the way through. If necessary, add water during this process, but always keep the water level no higher than the level of the beans, and when the beans are about 3/4 the way done, do not add any more water. You don’t want very much water left in the pot at the end of this step.
- Once your beans are well done, add in salt to taste; leave the salted beans in the warm pot, so they will absorb and dry up any water left over, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then transfer the beans to another container.
- Next, take a clean, dry pot and put it on the stove, pour in the palm oil and heat it up. If your palm oil has congealed, heat it until it melts, and in either case, liquid or congealed, keep heating the oil until – but not beyond – the point where a couple droplets of water tossed into the pot will pop, snap and sizzle.
- Now add in the sautéed onions and stir for a while.
- Mince the Habanero pepper and add it in, and stir everything together until it is all blended and heated up thoroughly – two minutes at most is all this step should take.
- Finally, add in the cooked beans, mix and blend well with the rest of the ingredients, cook and stir for about another 2 minutes. Do a taste test, and adjust salt if need be.
- Put the lid on the pot, and allow the dish to simmer for another few minutes, and then your Nigerian Fried Beans dish is ready to serve.
For a visual on how to prepare this dish, watch this short video. If you are like me, you will enjoy this lady’s charming African-English accent as much as the learning, lol.
She prepares the dish with a few slight variations from our recipe, but you will still see enough basic elements to help you prepare a successful and delicious dish of Nigerian Fried Beans.
Nigerian Coconut Rice
Often called “Jollof Rice with a Twist!” this is classic, traditional Nigerian food at its best. It has a marvelous aroma, and the appearance is so appealing, it is guaranteed to deliver your guests a culinary experience they will not forget – and the cook enthusiasts you serve it to will be asking you for the recipe!
Have fun with this. Tell your dinner guests you are serving Jollof Rice. The experienced diners will think they know what is coming. Then bring out this unique twist on the recipe and watch the surprised looks on their faces. And once they have that first mouthful, your meal will be off to a great start.
- Rice – 3 cups uncooked long grain white rice
- 500 ml (17 oz) Tomato Stew (see Nigerian Fried Tomato Stew recipe above)
- 600 ml (20 oz) coconut milk
- Chicken (whole chicken or thighs and drumsticks)
- Pepper (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- 2 Medium Sized Onions, rough chopped
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- Nigerian Seasoning – 3 Maggi cubes, or 3 Knorr cubes
Prep Cook Instructions:
- If you don’t have any Nigerian Tomato Stew already prepared or stored in the freezer, see “Nigerian Fried Tomato Stew” recipe above, and make up a batch. And if you are going to do this, make a large batch, if you enjoy preparing traditional Nigerian foods recipes. This stew is a key ingredient in many of the classic Nigerian foods, as you will soon learn, so having a lot of it on hand really cuts down on the time of meal preparation.
- If you are using a whole chicken, wash it well and it into pieces. Put the cut up chicken in a pot and add in just enough water to cover the chicken pieces. Now add in your chopped onions, your Maggi or Knorr bullion cubes, and the dried thyme and bring the water to a boil.
- Continue to boil the chicken until well done, and then add in salt as per your tastes. Drain the pieces of chicken in a sieve suspended over a bowl – you want to reserve the chicken stock for use later.
- The next step is optional, but preferred especially when entertaining dinner guests. Either pan fry, or oven broil, or grill your chicken. This “extra” step gives your chicken that wonderful, warm, golden brown look, that makes it so enticing in appearance at the dinner table.
- Parboil the rice. If you are not sure what “parboiling” means, it is merely partially boiling the rice, to the point where it is about halfway cooked – still very chewy, and a little tough to bite down on. Once the rice is at this point, drain it in a sieve and keep it ready to use in a bowl.
- Use a larger pot than you needed to parboil your rice to prepare the complete dish. Your parboiled rice will typically rise about 25% in size by the time it is fully cooked. Place the pot on the stove and turn the heat up high.
- Now pour the chicken stock you saved, also the tomato stew and coconut milk, into the pot, and stir until well mixed together. Bring the combined liquid mixture to a boil. Now add in the parboiled, drained rice, and salt and pepper to taste. The combined liquid in the pot should be level with the top of the rice. If it is not, add in just enough water to make it so. This is the proper proportion necessary to make sure the rice will be done and perfectly cooked once all the liquid elements have cooked out and dried up.
- Put a tight fitting lid on the pot and leave it to cook on medium or medium low heat, depending on your burner. You want the dish to cook at just a lively simmer, not so hot that it cooks out all the liquid and burns the rice before it is thoroughly cooked.
- When you can tilt the pot to the side, and no liquid comes seeping down the side, your rice should be done. Do a taste test, if the rice is still not tender enough, add a small amount of water and continue to simmer until you are satisfied with the softness and texture of your rice.
And that’s it! Serve and enjoy some scrumptious Nigerian Coconut Rice!
Anytime the subject of traditional Nigerian food recipes is discussed, you will undoubtedly have to mention their brand of shishkebob, which is the fabulously popular all over West Africa, “suya”—a yummy treat on a stick, of thin meat strips, marinated in their special suya spice, then skewered and grilled or roasted.
It is custom, when a young lady is taken out on a first date by a guy, that he takes her to his local favorite “Suya Mallam” (eatery where suya is prepared and sold) and the young man treats her to some suya.
But you don’t have to be a young lady on a first date to enjoy suya and, in fact, everyone in Nigeria, including visitors to the country, young or old, loves these roasted fillets of choice cuts of beef, coated with the unmistakable and not-to-be-found-anywhere-else, suya spice.
Every Suya Mallam (also known popularly as Mai Suya) has its own unique recipe for the suya spice, but basic ingredients like kuli-kuli (peanut butter deep fried until crunchy), red pepper flakes, salt, and maggi or knorr cubes are always the foundation. From there, almost anything goes, and you can find Suya spice that is anywhere from mildly hot (which is not common) to hot, to extremely hot.
- Lean, choice cut beef – sirloin steak is good, especially Wagyu Kobe Beef Sirloin
- Suya Spice, Extremely Hot, or Suya Spice, Hot
- Peanut Oil
You will need: grilling skewers. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 5 or 6 hours before preparing your suya.
- Using a very sharp knife, slice the beef lengthwise into very thin fillets.
- Depending on how long your cut of beef is, you may want to crosscut the fillets into smaller pieces, so they will thread onto the skewers and not flop about too much.
- Thread the fillets onto the skewers.
- Pour some peanut oil in a in a large, shallow bowl, add in a bit of salt and stir. Take a cooking brush and brush the peanut oil all over the threaded fillets, so the suya spice will adhere to the meat.
- Now take a wide dish, spread out the suya spice and roll the threaded fillets in the spice in such a way the the fillets are coated all over with suya spice.
- Put all the skewers, now loaded with spice coated fillets, on a large platter, cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for at least a full hour. Do not refrigerate – traditional, authentic Nigerian suya is marinated at room temperature.
- Toward the end of the marinating period, preheat your over to 300°F.
- Place the beef flat on an oven tray, and put it in the oven, in the middle rack position.
- After about 20 minutes, turn the fillets over and roast for another 20 minutes.
- Next, brush on some more peanut oil on both sides of the fillets, turn the oven up to 350 degrees, and roast some more, about 5 minutes on each side.
- Serve with sliced raw onions. Some like to also serve their suya with even more side condiments, like sliced tomatoes, chunks of cabbage, and sliced cucumber.
Here’s yet another of the most traditional Nigerian cuisine recipes, a classic rendition of one of their many beloved seafood dishes.
(Nigerian Fish Stew)
- 8-10 catfish and/or tilapia fillets
- 2 large red bell peppers, quartered
- 4 scotch bonnet peppers
- 4 Roma plum tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 large red onion, quartered
- 6 large cloves garlic, peeled
- Fresh ginger root, equal in size to the garlic, peeled and rough chopped
- 3-1/2 cups water
- 3 knorr cubes, or 3 maggi cubes (a must ingredient, this uniquely African seasoning)
- 1 tbsp. Goya Adobo seasoning (the kind with pepper)
- 2 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup safflower oil (or your favorite vegetable oil)
- 1/2 cup red palm oil (another must ingredient – no substitute will do)
- Using cool, to room temperature water, rinse and clean the fish. Pat dry and salt both sides of the fillets well, rubbing the salt into the flesh. Place the salted fillets in a deep bowl and cover with cool to room temperature water for 25 to 30 minutes—this ensures the salt seeping deep into the fish. But no longer than half an hour, or it will get too
- In a blender, add the quartered onion, bell peppers, and tomatoes, along with the scotch bonnet peppers, ginger and garlic, with one cup of water. Blend until completely liquefied.
- In a large cooking pot, heat both oils until they are smoking hot—seriously. Exercising caution, add into the pan your liquefied mixture. Now reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and allow to cook for about 45 minutes. Every so often, check on the soup to see if you need to add more water. You probably will, or else the soup will become too thick.
- By now you should be ready to drain the saltwater off of your fish fillets in a colander.
- 30 minutes into the soup cooking on medium, crush your knorr or maggi cubes and the Adobo seasoning into the pot. Stir and let cook another 15 minutes.
- Now add in the fish, stir well, and let cook another 12 to15 minutes—until you can see the fish starting to flake. Remove from the heat, and allow the soup to cool for about 4 or 5 minutes before serving.
Nigerian fish soup is traditionally served with white rice or, sometimes, eaten together with okro soup—which makes a wonderful compliment of textures and flavors.
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