Despite having a historically fantastic reputation among professional chefs, Nigerian food has only just started to become more popular among the general public. Those at the forefront of gastronomy know full well that West Africa has long been deserving of international spotlight and now their predictions are being vindicated.
If you haven’t yet experienced the flavours, colours, and presentation of Nigerian dining, don’t worry. Not only is it becoming more accessible worldwide, with restaurants being created in various cities and ingredients being sold in high street supermarkets, but we also have a guide that will help you get to grips with Nigerian food so that you know how to order your dodo and cooking your moin moin!
Stock Up On Groundnuts
Groundnuts, or peanuts, are one of the most ubiquitous ingredients in Nigerian cooking. So, if you are planning on making your own Nigerian recipes, then be sure to purchase a large bag. They are cooking in a variety of ways but are often used to make Nigerian stew, such as groundnut soup. You’ll even see them fried and spiced as a delicious snack
Know Your Jollof
Jollof rice is perhaps the most well-regarded and fiercely defended dish in West Africa. Depending on which country you visit, you will be served an almost entirely different rice dish, with each person claiming that their recipe is the best.
The Nigerian way is exceptionally delicious, being rich, smoky, and served with a distinct orange colour. It’s easy to make yourself but, for the real experience, be sure to try an authentic version first, so you get the true jollof experience. Don’t worry if you can’t find a restaurant, because microwave rice packets are now available!
No Part Left Behind
In Nigerian cooking, waste is rarely accepted. This is why a number of dishes will make tasty use of lesser-eaten ingredients, such as offal. It can be a little off-putting at first but it only takes one bite of these foods before you fall in love. Many are prepared and served in traditional and regional ways, meaning that there are endless variations of recipes for you to experience.
It Can Be Spicy
If you enjoy a little heat with your meal, then you’ll feel right at home eating yimata beef or suya chicken because these dishes have a distinct and mouth-wateringly good spice. The flavours come from a variety of spices, including most often a dry ground pepper that tastes somewhat similar to cayenne (and with the same heat!). However, there are plenty of dishes that are less spicy and, if you’re worried you might not handle the heat, simply bring extra fu fu to the table to help!
Because Nigerian food is not quite as widespread as it deserves to be, certain ingredients can be hard to find. For this reason, if you want to truly experience the full flavours of Nigerian cooking, you should go to a restaurant, one that offers authentic dishes. Or, if that isn’t enough, you can always book a flight to Lagos!