Nigeria has an abundance of natural resources that has inspired a variety of dishes, such as fruit salads and an assortment of soups and stews, typically served with rice. Nigerian cooks use a variety of peppers, such as habanero, Scotch bonnets and red pepper. Obe ata dindin, for example, is a fried pepper stew that uses those three peppers with tomatoes and assorted meat, such as tripe.
Because much of Nigeria is tropical, many types of fruit are abundant there. Nigerian fruit salad, a popular dish, is made with papayas, apples, bananas, pineapple, orange and lime juices, coconut, sugar and cinnamon. Many typical Nigerian dishes use plantains. Although plantains are fruit, they are often used in Nigeria more as a pasta or potato substitute because they are starchy rather than sweet. Fried plantains, or "dodo," are a common sight, often served as a side dish with a Nigerian rice recipe.
Rice is an important grain in Nigeria, generally served with stews. A popular dish is Jollof rice, cooked in chicken stock and a sauce made from tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable oil and onions. Tuwo shinkafa is rice formed into balls served in soup. Tuwo masara is made from cornmeal added to boiling water and acts like bread rolls, with people often eating it with soup. When deep-fried in hot oil, it's a common snack called kokoro or hausa masa.
Meats and Fish
Nigeria is the largest livestock producer in West and Central Africa. People eat fried beef, usually served as an appetizer with chili dipping sauce or with Jollof rice. Beef is cut into chunks, fried with onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaf and pepper, cooked for a half hour and then deep-fried. Ox tongue, made by removing the skin and boiling it, and ox heart, made by removing the fat and preparing as you would beef, are Nigerian dishes. A common Nigerian fish stew, obe eja tutu, is made with any type of fresh fish, tomatoes, onions, habanero pepper, thyme and curry.
The Portuguese introduced cassava to Nigeria in the 1400s, and now the country produces more cassava than anywhere else in the world. Bobozee is a popular Nigerian snack made from cassava tubers that are peeled, cut into slices and boiled. Yams are indigenous to West Africa, and Nigerians eat them much as Americans eat potatoes by boiling, frying, roasting or mashing them. A dish made from roasted yams served with a pepper sauce made from onion and ukpaka, or bean seeds, and habanero pepper is a popular street food.