How To Cook Food In Nigeria

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How to Cook Delicious Nigerian Food: A Beginner's Guide

If you're interested in exploring the tasty world of Nigerian food, then this guide is perfect for you! Nigerian cuisine is known for its bold flavors, spices, and mouth-watering dishes. From Jollof rice to Egusi soup, there is something for everyone to enjoy. In this article, we'll be exploring the basics of Nigerian cooking and providing you with a few recipes to try at home.

The Basics of Nigerian Cooking

Before we dive into specific recipes, it's important to understand the basics of Nigerian cooking. One of the most important ingredients in Nigerian cuisine is palm oil. It's used in most dishes and provides a rich, distinctive flavor. Other key ingredients include onions, peppers, tomatoes, and a variety of spices.

When cooking Nigerian food, it's important to pay attention to the texture of your ingredients. Many dishes require a combination of soft and crunchy textures for the perfect balance. For example, Okro soup has a slimy texture from the okra, but is complemented by the softness of the meat or fish used.

Additionally, Nigerian cuisine is often served with a starchy side dish, such as fufu, pounded yam, or rice. These sides are used to soak up the flavorful sauces and gravies.

Nigerian Recipes to Try

Now that we've covered the basics, let's dive into some delicious Nigerian recipes to try at home!

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Jollof Rice

Jollof rice is a popular West African dish and a staple in Nigerian cuisine. It's a flavorful rice dish cooked in a tomato-based sauce with a variety of spices. Here's how to make it:


  • 2 cups of rice
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Rinse the rice and set aside.
  2. In a blender, puree the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers until smooth.
  3. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the tomato paste, curry powder, thyme, ginger, salt, and pepper. Stir until fragrant.
  5. Add the pureed tomato mixture and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the rice and stir to combine.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  8. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.

Serve hot with your choice of protein and a side dish.

Egusi Soup

Egusi soup is another popular Nigerian dish made with ground melon seeds and a variety of vegetables. Here's how to make it:


  • 1 cup of Egusi (ground melon seeds)
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of palm oil
  • 1 tablespoon of crayfish
  • 1 tablespoon of ground pepper
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a large pot, heat the palm oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and sauté until translucent.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened.
  4. Add the ground crayfish and pepper and stir to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the Egusi with a bit of water to form a paste.
  6. Add the Egusi paste to the pot and stir to combine.
  7. Gradually add water until the desired consistency is reached.
  8. Add the spinach and salt to taste.
  9. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the soup has thickened.
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Serve hot with your choice of side dish.


Suya is a popular Nigerian street food made with grilled meat and a spicy peanut sauce. Here's how to make it:


  • 1 pound of beef, chicken, or goat meat
  • 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of ground paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Skewers for grilling

For the peanut sauce:

  • 1 cup of roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Salt to taste


  1. Cut the meat into thin strips and thread onto skewers.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the ginger, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Rub the spice mixture onto the meat skewers.
  4. Grill the skewers over medium-high heat until cooked through.
  5. In a blender, combine the roasted peanuts, tomato paste, cayenne pepper, ginger, honey, and salt.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Serve the grilled meat skewers with the peanut sauce.


Cooking Nigerian food can be a fun and flavorful experience. With a few basic ingredients and spices, you can create delicious and authentic dishes at home. Whether you're cooking Jollof rice, Egusi soup, or Suya, your taste buds are in for a treat. So, grab your apron and get ready to explore the world of Nigerian cuisine!


Q: Is Nigerian food spicy?
A: Yes, Nigerian food is known for its bold flavors and spices. However, the level of spiciness can be adjusted to your preference.

Q: What are some common Nigerian side dishes?
A: Some common Nigerian side dishes include fufu, pounded yam, and rice.

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Q: Can I substitute palm oil in Nigerian recipes?
A: While palm oil is a key ingredient in Nigerian cuisine, you can substitute it with vegetable oil if needed.

Q: What is Egusi?
A: Egusi is a type of melon seed commonly used in Nigerian cuisine.

Q: Is Nigerian food healthy?
A: Nigerian food can be healthy when prepared with fresh ingredients and in moderation. However, some dishes may be high in calories and sodium.