Happy Nigerian Independence Day! I love celebrating my Nigerian heritage, and of course one of my favorite ways to do it is through food. I wanted to share 10 of my favorite Nigerian recipes that I love to cook just as much as I love to eat. These recipes take me back to my childhood and almost every family gathering. They include the beloved jollof rice as well as some snack recipes, dinner staples, and entertaining recipes. Ready to celebrate with me? Lets go!
- Jollof Rice– There isn’t enough good things to say abut this dish right here. When you think Nigerian food, jollof rice is most likely the first thing to pop in your head. Every Nigerian has grown up eating this dish, and the variation party rice is found at almost every Nigerian gathering. It spicy, sweet, and ultra comforting. My recipe breaks it down in 5 easy steps so it turns out good every time!
- Fried Plantains– I get asked how to fry plantains all the time! I love having plantains with almost everything! Rice, soups, stews, and even eggs! This is how I grew up eating them, and fried plantains our served up with Nigerian meals quite a lot. You’ll also see them referred to as dodo or alloco. They couldn’t be any easier to fry. The trick is picking them when they have ripened. Check out the recipe in my cookbook, Flavors of Africa.
- Egusi Soup– Comfort in a bowl! This soup is rich in earthy flavors, and packed with spinach, chicken, and meat. I love to eat this soup with garri or fufu. It’s not a flavor that you commonly run into, but just one taste and you’re going to love it!
- Moin Moin– I like to call this dish a spicy bean cake. It’s made with black eyed peas with the shells removed, then pureed with peppers and tomatoes. It’s then steamed in uma or banana leaves, and can be stuffed with whatever you want! Growing up my mom would stuff them would boiled eggs, corned beef, or mackerel. The most common combination are boiled eggs and corned beef. I absolutely love watching my mom make this dish.
- Nigerian Red Stew– No Nigerian household is complete without a pot of this stew in your fridge. It is a staple, and most times if you’re wondering what’s for dinner; it’s rice and stew! This is my all time favorite meal, and I could eat it 3 times a day. It never gets old. If you love tomatoes, then you will love this stew. The tomatoes are blended, then cooked down and fried till they darken and naturally sweeten.
- Chin Chin– My favorite snack growing up. All chin chin is is fried dough that’s been lightly seasoned with nutmeg and sugar. The dough is cut into small squares and then fried to a hard crisp. I used to love crunching on these squares. These are great as a snack, or if you are entertaining put them in a bowl (think like chips), and you’ll consistently see hands reaching in for more and more. This is the perfect snack to enjoy Nigerian Independence Day with!
- Nigerian Pepper Sauce– If stew isn’t readily available this pepper sauce is the next best thing. Use it to flavor your fish, meats, and chicken as a marinade. It’s also great as a dipping sauce if you can handle the heat. I like to dip my puff puff or fried plantains in it, as well as put it on top of my white rice.
- Puff Puff– These fried dough balls are heaven! Traditionally less sweet than a doughnut or beignet; I often call these puff puff the African doughnut. The batter is very simple with just flour, sugar, water, nutmeg, and yeast; yet when fried the result is magical. These balls fresh out of the oil are fluffy, light, and sweet and super hard to resist. These should be a part of every Nigerian Independence Day celebration! To kick up the sweetness sprinkle powdered sugar on them for an extra treat.
- Nigerian Pepper Soup– one word…HEAT! This soup is packed with peppers and spice (hence the name) and is just the thing you need if you’re looking to get over a cold. This is a great winter time soup as it will warm you right up. Besides the peppers; it’s got a nice assortment of fresh, chicken, and meat. A lot of people use goat meat in their pepper soup. It’s often served with boiled yam or plantains and rice.
- Suya– I’ve loved suya since childhood. It’s the epitome of Nigerian street food, and every town has it’s go to suya spot. You’ll see vendors out there all day, grilling meat with spices and the high orange flame and smells- it’s truly magical. It’s one of the most flavorful pieces of meat I’ve ever tasted and the spice along with the grilling is what makes suya, suya. I’ve come up with my own blend of suya seasoning, and I use it all the time!
Hope you guys enjoy all of these recipes! Comment below and let me know which ones you’re just dying to try first. You can find more Nigerian and African recipes in my cookbook, Flavors of Africa! Happy Nigerian Independence Day! -xX Evi