Top 3 Spices To Use When Cooking Traditional Nigerian Meals

Did you try African cuisine? Have you ever thought of a variety of Nigerian spices? This article presents top 3 spices of this wonderful country!

Nigerian Spices

The cuisine in Nigeria is a combination of varieties food preferences of hundreds of ethnic groups. For local cuisine, spices are especially popular. There are hundreds of types which provide extra delicacy to the local dishes and you inevitably meet them. Traditionally you can meet garlic, onion, pepper, salt and other representatives of world spices here but you may face with some new acquaintances like:

  • Ogbonna – makes dishes thickener, usually a part of okra and ogbonna soups.
  • Lyere – has many things in common with its cousin pepper but aroma and taste are stronger, also used as an addition to soups.
  • Achii – used in oha and onugbu soup. It has the same usage as Ogbonna.
  • Alligator Pepper – it has something in common with the creature after what it named. It has a dramatically fiery taste and strong flavor. It`s especially welcome in yam pottage.
  • Ehuru – also known as African nutmeg. It`s a seed which has very strong flavor and taste. You may find it in many conditions, like dried, powder or raw.
  • Ogiri or Ogili – it`s fermented seeds of melon. It`s a traditional guest to the local soups and stew.
  • Cumin – It has some similarities with mild curry cousin. It`s preferably sold in powder and can be a nice fragrance to fried rice dishes.
  • Yaji – this fellow is mainly popular in the Northern parts of Nigeria. It`s a carefully blended mix of traditional spices, like salt, pepper, garlic, chili, ginger etc. Also, it can be divided into different varieties. It depends on the quantity of one or several ingredients of the Yaji.
  • Ata Jos –extra strong and hot mix powder made of chili peppers.
  • Uda – it`s an aromatic crisp flavor Negro pepper. Traditional addition to the pepper and banga soups.

If you think that it`s everything that Nigeria can provide you with food - you are definitely wrong. We are going to the Top 3 of local spices.

READ ALSO: Nigerian food for toddlers – 5 super healthy ideas for Nigerian moms

ClovesNigerian cloves

Locals can also name it kanafuru. It`s a traditional Nigerian spice. It`s a dried flower buds with an especially distinctive type of flavor, very sweet taste and smell. It can be presented in powder or whole seed form. Their aromatic properties provide them a place in increasingly popular local soups and stews. Also, you can add it to the bakery if you desire to add some distinctive sweet aroma to pies or bread. A little piece of advice -  you need to use very small quantity of this spice. Usually, one or two teaspoons or one or two single cloves are more than enough for any dish you prepare, unless you serve for a big quantity of guests.

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper

Have you ever tasted Suya? It can be named African shish kebab, very popular street food where one of the ingredients is Cayenne pepper. It`s a dry and hot spice powder consistent of a great variety of tropical chilies. Also, due to its special characteristics can be widely used in traditional medicine. Despite the fact that it was brought to Nigeria from French Guiana, it became one of the major spices for Nigerian and African cuisine. It`s commonly used in a great variety of stews and soups.

Bitter Leaf

Bitter Leaf

Especially wonderful for medicine purposes like battling against breast cancer, lowering cholesterol or as a lymphatic cleanser. In the same time, it`s part of very popular Ofe Onugbu soup and many other perfect dishes. Bitter leaf adds special taste and flavor which can be hardly forgotten, especially for people who try this soup for the first time.

Nigerian cuisine is very rich in many kinds of spices. They add distinctive characteristics to the traditional Nigerian cuisine. The top 3 list gathered here is a little part of a great variety of spices gathered in this magnificent country of Africa.

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