A staple in many West African homes, pounded yam, is often paired with egusi, okra soup or stew vegetables. It can be made from scratch or made using pounded yam flour.
Below is how to make pounded yam from scratch.
Yam: It has a dark brown rough skin with off-white flesh. They can be boiled, roasted,or fried. The best place to find true yams will be the ethnic market or on our online store Shop Naija.
Water – water is the second ingredient and this is needed to boil the yam until it becomes fork-tender.
Peel the yam and cut it into small cubes.
Rinse about once or twice till you get clear water.
Boil until the Yam becomes fork-tender.
Pound or blend into a dough-like consistency until it’s completely smooth with no yam chunks left. You can pound it using a large mortar and pestle.
The amount of water you will need to boil the yam will vary depending how dry the yam is.
Making pounded yam from flour
2 cups of water
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil on a stove top.
Whilst still on the stove top add the yam powder and mix it together using a wooden spoon.
The pounded yam is ready when it smoothens and thickens into a dough.
The process can take about five minutes to make.
West African alligator pepper is a West African spice that corresponds to the seeds and seed pods of Aframomum Daniell.
It is a species in the ginger family whose seeds and leaves are used for medicinal, culinary, as well as traditional purposes.
You can buy alligator pepper from Shop Naija for R25.
Below are the numerous benefits of alligator pepper.
1. Consumption Purposes
As a popular spice alligator pepper is normally snacked upon especially by elders and sometimes youths. In traditional meetings and events such as baby naming ceremonies, traditional marriages, burial ceremonies, town meetings etc, the alligator pepper is usually served together with kola nuts and peanut butter as part of the customary rites.
Both the seeds and leaves can also be used for garnishing salads and for preparing assorted dishes such as pepper soup, stews, and certain meat dishes. Its hot peppery and pungent flavour makes dishes spicy.
However, alligator pepper can be substituted with black pepper, grains of paradise, piper guineense, or black cardamom. You can ground the seeds before adding to dishes.
The beer industry normally uses the alligator pepper for strengthening and flavouring alcoholic beverages such as gin, beer, wine, and ale.
2. Anti-oxidizing Properties
Alligator pepper seeds are an excellent source of phytonutrients such as terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, cardiac glycosides, saponin and phenolic compound. They scavenge for free radicals and offer protections against viruses, allergens, microbes, platelet aggregation, tumors, ulcers and hepatotoxins (chemical liver damage) in the body. This suggests why it is commonly used in folk medicine for preventing and tackling intestinal problems.
3. Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders
The seed extracts of the alligator pepper can be used for treating gastrointestinal disorders such as stomach pain, diarrhea, ulcer, and intestinal worms.
4. Wound Healing
The seeds can be crushed and used for preparing concoctions for treating and healing wounds. Alligator pepper contains a high amount of tannin that is distinguished by its stringent property and as such it is very effective for healing wounds, treating burns and soothing inflamed mucous membrane.
5. Antimicrobial Properties
The seed extract has antimicrobial properties due to its constituents of phenolic compounds that are normally used as disinfectants. Studies reveal that Aframomum melegueta extract is broad spectrum and as such has inhibitory effect on the growth of bacteria such as Salmonella typhi, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumonia etc.
6. Aphrodisiac Properties
Studies reveal that the alligator pepper is aphrodisiac in nature thus can be used for stimulating sexual desires.
7. Anti-inflammatory Properties
The seed has anti-inflammatory properties due to its constituent of gingerol that inhibits the leukotriene and prostaglandins synthesis. It offers protection against inflammation of the body.
8. Analgesic Properties
The aqueous extract of the plant is analgesic in nature and as such can be used for relieving and alleviating pains such as joint pain, toothache, stomach pain, arthritic pain and rheumatoid pain.
9. Dermatological Care
Alligator pepper can be used for preparing herbal remedy for treating infectious skin diseases such as measles, chickenpox and smallpox.
10. Stimulating Properties
Due to its stimulating properties and peppery pungent taste, the alligator pepper is normally chewed as a stimulant to keep the body alert.
11. Malaria Treatment
The leaves are used for preparing herbal medicines for preventing and treating malaria.
12. Digestive Properties
The seeds aid easy digestion of food thereby preventing constipation and bloating.
Side Effects of Alligator Pepper
There are no recorded side effects of the alligator pepper, however, pregnant and lactating mothers are encouraged not to consume it.
A study was conducted on the Effect of alligator pepper on first-trimester pregnancy in Sprague Dawley rats in 2009. The study showed that Alligator pepper had an adverse effect on the first-trimester pregnancy of the rats. The study claimed that pregnant women need to avoid eating Alligator pepper, especially in their first trimester.
Whether you’re looking to cook more this festive season or want to try out Nigerian dishes you’ll want to try the festive fried rice recipe by Chef Lola below.
Some notes about the recipe
You can add a dash of cayenne pepper if you like some heat.
Don’t over boil your Rice before frying it, otherwise, you will end up with soggy fried rice.
Fried rice is best enjoyed when the vegetables remain crunchy, so don’t overcook your veggies.
The recipe uses mixed veggies which consist of carrots, peas, sweet corn, and green beans. However, vegetables like sweet bell peppers can also be used.
In order to achieve that nice coveted crisp, you will need to turn up the heat to high during the frying process and stir continuously as you allow the rice to heat up.
The recipe uses pieces of beef liver in the fried Rice. But if you don’t want it you are free to leave it out, you will still enjoy the total goodness of the Fried Rice with or without any protein.
When making this Fried Rice, it is best to use chicken stock or turkey stock because of the taste. The beef stock should be avoided as it can overpower the taste of the fried rice.
Most of the ingredients are available from Shop Naija
- 2 Cups cooked Rice
- 1 Cup Mixed Vegetables I used Carrots, Sweet Peas, Sweet Corn and Green Beans
- 1 cup Onion diced
- 2 Scallions
- 1 Cup Beef Liver Cubed/Prawns/Chicken pieces/Cooked beans
- 1/2 Teaspoon Thyme
- 1 Teaspoon Curry powder
- 1/2 cup Chicken stock
- 1 Stock cube
- 3 Tablespoons Oil for frying
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
- Add the parboiled Rice to the stock and cook until the water is dried up.
- Preheat the oil in a pan, throw in the onions and fry for a minute or two, add the scallions, mixed vegetables, thyme, curry powder, salt, and stock Cube.
- Throw in the beef liver and rice. Stir-fry for about 3 to 5 Minutes. Take it off the heat and serve.
Sometimes called “dessert bananas” plantains are an extremely important staple for people, they grow in tropical countries across the globe from Central and South America to the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Cooked plantains are a rich source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and B-6, and the minerals magnesium and potassium.
Plantains can be eaten unripe, ripe, or over-ripe. They can also be fried, boiled/cooked, or roasted/grilled.
Fried Plantain is one of the easy and fast Nigerian food recipes. It is often featured in Nigerian breakfast meals. It is also a major side dish to rice dishes.
Breakfast plantain (omelet)
These leafy vegetables work well with this recipe: Ugu, Spinach, and Scent leaves.
- 1 ripe but firm plantain
- 2 eggs
- 1 frankfurter (sausage)
- ½ a tomato
- ½ an onion
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons green peas
- A few leaves leafy vegetables
- Vegetable oil
- Habanero pepper (optional)
Peel and slice the plantain into thin discs. Fry till golden and set aside. Slice the onions, habanero pepper (if using it), and leafy vegetables. Cut the frankfurter and tomato into small pieces
- Fry the onions in a small quantity of vegetable oil for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato, frankfurters, and green peas and fry for 2 minutes.
- Pour the result into the egg, add the sliced leaf vegetables, and stir.
- Heat a small quantity of vegetable oil and pour the egg mix from step 3 into the pan such that the mix is well spread out to cover the pan.
- Reduce the heat to very low and once the edge of the omelet cakes, lay the fried plantains flat on the omelet to cover it.
- Shake your frying pan from time to time and once the plantain omelet cakes all over, gently transfer it to a flat plate.
Slice up like pizza and enjoy with other breakfast dishes.
Fried Plantain (dodo)
- Ripe Plantain (The plantain should be ripe and hard, it is not advisable to use plantain that is soft)
- Vegetable Oil: enough for deep frying.
- Salt to taste
Before you fry the plantains
- Wash, peel, and slice the plantain. Place in a bowl and add a little salt. Toss the plantain to ensure that the salt is evenly distributed.
- Pour a generous quantity of vegetable oil into a frying pan and allow to heat.
*Recipes from allnigerianrecipes.com
As part of Africa Day Celebrations on Tuesday 25 May, we decided to write recipes that you can cook at home as you mark the day. Most of the ingredients are available at Shop Naija at specials for the week.
On 25 May 1963, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was formed 1963 in the fight against colonialism and apartheid. Africa Day is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the successes of the OAU (now the AU) from its creation in May 25 and this day is normally celebrated with music, dance and poetry
This year the theme is “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa we Want”.
Anyway, without wasting any time, let’s get cooking.
The colourful rice is served in many West African homes and not just Nigeria. Ingredients can include rice, onions, tomatoes, chillies and a variety of spices. It can be served with vegetables and your meat of choice. Jollof rice is commonly served on special occasions and at social events. We took a recipe from theafricacookbook.com
- 2 large tomatoes, grated
- 1 Large White Onion, diced
- 1 Bell Pepper, diced
- 1 cup frozen or canned green beans
- 1 celery stick, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2.5 cups of chicken stock (see above for substitutions)
- 2 cups dry long-grain rice
- 1.5 tbsp. of tomato paste (optional)
- .25 cups of vegetable oil
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 1.5 tsp Paprika
- 1.5 tsp Curry Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Chilli Powder
- .5 tsp Black Pepper
- .25 tsp Thyme
- In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil on high heat.
- Mix in onions, peppers, garlic, and celery. Reduce heat to medium. Stir occasionally. If you see all the oil soaked up, you can add a bit more.
- After about five minutes, check to see if the vegetables are soft. Add the grated tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, and chicken stock (or your preferred stock subsitute). Stir together. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil.
- Once the pot is boiling, add the rice and green beans. Cover and bring back to boiling.
- Once the pot is boiling again, reduce heat to medium. Leave for ten minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks or burns. If the rice is sticking, add more water or stock.
- Switch off heat and let it sit for ten minutes before serving.
1. I’ve noted several substitution options in the Simple Ingredients List towards the top of the article. Not every ingredient is available world-wide, and you may also want to make substitutions to make the dish more traditionally or to make it vegetarian or vegan.
2. This is a dish that will get more complex in flavor over time, so feel free to make a few hours ahead.
Afang soup and Swallow
Originally from southern Nigeria, Afang soup is made with local Afang leaves and water leaves together with dried fish, meat and snails, as well as seasonings. It takes about an hour to prepare, and is often served with pounded yam, fufu and garri. We took a recipe from allnigeriansfood.com
Sliced fresh water leaves (1kg)
1/2 cup of ground crayfish
Ground fresh Ukazi leaves (200g)
3 cubes of knorr (sweetener)
1 stock fish head (medium size)
2 medium sized dried or roasted fish
1.5 cups of palm oil
1 cup of Periwinkles (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste (red fresh pepper)
1-2KG of any meat of choice.
Assorted meat is the most suitable for afang soup but if you can’t find it in your location you can use any meat you find. I used a combination of assorted meat and pkomo.
Wash the snails with lime juice or grape juice and be sure it is rid of its slimy fluid. The periwinkle (isam) are usually cleaned by the sellers, you just need to wash.
The ground ukazi leaves act as a thickener for this soup, I use fresh leaves for all my soup but if you can’t find fresh stuff in your location, go ahead and substitute with the dried alternative. You can tell from the image above that the leaves are fresh.
How to Cook Afang Soup
Just go ahead and start parboiling the meat with all the necessary ingredients (2 cubes of knorr, half cup of sliced onions, salt and other spice of choice)
Some people wash the water leaves before slicing them while others choose to slice them before washing; I prefer the latter. Slice and wash the water leaves and set aside in a plastic sieve to make sure that water is properly drained away.
Most people don’t like a trace of water in their afang soup, that can be easily arranged, just try to squeeze the water leaves tightly before you add them to the soup.
Soak the dried fish with warm water, remove the center bones and wash thoroughly with just water; also wash the stockfish head with warm water. Add them to the cooking meat and cook till they are soft and the pot is almost dry. Add the palm oil, stir all together.
Add a seasoning cube, ground pepper, snails and salt to taste, allow cooking for 3-5 minutes.
Add the water-leaves; allow to simmer for 5 minutes before adding the periwinkles, ground ukazi, and ground crayfish
Stir all together, cover the pot and allow simmering for another 5 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
That is how to prepare afang soup, it can be served with fufu, eba, pounded yam, wheat. Any nice soft drink would be a welcome addition.
The intensely spicy flavour of the pepper soup is among the nation’s favourite dishes. It can be cooked with a variety of meat.. The broth is rich, with aromatic spices, pepper, ginger, garlic and onions to give it that unforgettable taste.We took a recipe from demandafrica.com
- 2 pounds chicken / catfish / cow leg / offal
- 4 seeds Calabash nutmeg (Ehiri/Ehuru) (ground)
- 3 cubes Maggi seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 medium onions
- 2 tablespoons Scent leaves (dry uziza leaves)
- Red chili pepper / habanero pepper (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- 1/2 gallon water (approximately)
- Wash and prepare chicken, goat meat, offal or cow leg.
- On medium-high heat, place meat into the pot and add water to reach the level of the contents of the pot.
- Add Maggi cubes, garlic, onions, and ground spices.
- Add chili or habanero peppers and salt to taste.
- Cook on medium-high heat till meat is tender and cooked through.
- Add scent leaves for a sweet aroma and flavouring. Cook for two minutes, and the pepper soup is ready.
Nigerian Pepper Soup is best served hot with agidi or white rice or boiled yam, whichever you prefer.
A widely consumed soup. You can serve this Nigerian soup with pounded yam, amala, eba, tuwo or any other swallow of choice. There are various egusi soup recipes as the ingredients used in cooking it also vary. We took a recipe from my active kitchen blog for a recipe that can be ready under 40 minutes.
Author: Ajoke| My Active Kitchen
- 12 pieces smoked turkey grilled
- 3 smoked mackerel fillets
- 2 cups ground melon (egusi)
- Nigerian Pepper mix I used a combination of 2 red bell pepper, 2 scotch bonnet and 1 large onion, reserve little chopped onion for later
- 1 cup palm oil
- 1 tbsp locust beans (Iru woro) substitute with ogiri or dawadawa
- 1 tbsp ground crayfish use more if desired
- ⅓ cups dried prawns washed use more if desired
- 2 bouillon cubes
- cups chopped spinach washed
- 1 cup beef stock (optional, I used this because I had it in the fridge)
- Add ground melon to a bowl, add about a cup of water and mix to for a paste then set aside
- Place a big pan on medium heat, add palm oil and heat for about 3 minutes (Do not bleach oil) add the reserved chopped onions and Sautee till translucent
- Add pepper mix, locust beans and stir to combine. Bring to boil for 5 minutes.
- Add the egusi paste in bits to pepper, reduce the heat, do not stir and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid, and gently stir the soup. The egusi would be lumpy at this point, use the back of a ladle to break it into desired size/texture
- Add smoked turkey, ground crayfish and crayfish, beef stock (if using) and stir to combine. Add bouillon cubes, taste and adjust accordingly. I didn’t add salt to this soup as the smoked turkey and mackerel already contained salt.
- Continue to cook for another 10 minutes, check at interval and stir to avoid burning if need be
- Add shredded smoked mackerel and gently stir into the soup. Add chopped spinach, stir to combine and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Take if off the heat, allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving
- Substitute spinach for any other green leaves of choice
- Swap smoked turkey for beef or goat meat or chicken or fish
- Stockfish can be used to substitute smoked fish used in this recipe. If you will be using stockfish, ensure it is washed in hot water with salt. rinse clean to get rid of the debris before adding to the soup.
This article was previously published on NigeriansInSouthAfrica
Many Nigerian celebs who come to South Africa to relax or perform suffer from serious nostalgia.
Many wonder the reason for the strong nostalgia, even when their stay in South Africa is just for about a week.
Reports say that Remilekun Abdulkalid Safaru popularly known as Reminisce (Baba Hafusa) often comes to South Africa with his Nigerian food and drinks.
Anytime the Nigerian singer and songwriter lands in South Africa, one of the things he craves is Nigerian food.
The versatile songster is not alone in the ordeal, many other great Nigerian artists do the same.
One wonders: is this patriotism or that Nigerian artists are not open to the world?
Many Nigerians living in South Africa say it is hard for Nigerians to eat food from other parts of the world when Naija food is available.
Martins Obi: “Not that we are boasting. Naija food is rich and sweet. Nigerians are very loyal to our food”.