Nigerian spices and uses

Nigerian Spices and Uses

There are lots of Nigerian spices used for cooking.

This article should introduce you to the enormous world of food spices and flavors.

In Nigeria, we enjoy a plethora of spices and flavor in our cooking. Some of them are home grown, the rest are imported.

Lots of Nigerians don’t understand the vast role of spice in our day to day cooking. For most people, it it just pepper and salt. This article can help us do better.

Do You Cook With Spices?

Honestly, I only started experimenting with spices some years back and I have made better foods.

I started with Nigerian spices for jollof rice, then the spices for stews and soups.

Cooking is not just about nourishing our bodies; it’s also an opportunity to embark on a culinary adventure that tantalizes our taste buds and expose us to different aromas.

Nigerian cuisine is a treasure trove of wonderful spices, and at the heart of its distinctiveness lies a rich array of indigenous flavors.

In this post, we’ll delve into the delightful world of Nigerian spices and how you can incorporate them into your kitchen to create unique and mouthwatering dishes

Why Must I Use Nigerian Spices?

Spices are the reason your food smell nice, mostly, its for the aroma. A great percentage of people are spurred into eating right after perceiving the aroma.

If you foods don’t smell nice, well, you are not killing it.

Spices and flavor are obtained from different sources.

There are plant-based and animal-based flavor in Nigeria, for instances, My soups are made up of a masterful infusion of meats, fishes and local spices.

These is how they get their aromas.

What Spices Should I Use?

While I will be making a list of spices I use for different foods, I however highly recommend that you explore them yourself and learn what works for you.

And yes, there foods that will still end up with just pepper and salt. My vegetable soups are made with very little spicing, just pepper and salt, maybe onion (if that’s also one of the spices)

Nigerian Spices for Soup

nigerian spices for soup

While making Nigerian soups, I build the flavors from the first minute I set the pot on heat. In most cases, it is just an infusion of dried fishes and meats.

I also use local spices like ogiri, okpei, dawadawa, ginger, calabash nutmeg(ehu), and garlic.

Different soups call for different ingredients and spices. You can find a comprehensive list of ingredients and spices for most foods on their recipe pages.

Nigerian Spices for Jollof Rice

Jollof rice spices

Several spices are used for making Nigerian jollof rice, both homegrown and imported spice. However, I stick to the simple and easy to find.

Just garlic, ginger, curry, thyme, shallot and dried onions does it for me.

You can try these spices the next time you are making jollof rice and tell me all about it.

While making jollof rice you use some of the spices for the meat and the rest for the actual cooking

Other Nigerian Food Spices

Lots of spices and flavors exist across different Nigerian cultures and ethnicities. There are general spices like curry, thyme, nutmeg, onions, ginger, garlic, shallot, bay leaves, cloves etc. 

There are also local spices that are only known to certain regions and cultures. These spice are usually locally for seasoning foods and they include – scent leaves, Uda, Ugba, Iru, Kanafuru Uziza leaves, Irugege, ataiko and several others.

These spices are used in various Nigerian dishes to add heat, depth and complexity to the flavors. Keep in mind that regional variations may exist, and some dishes may use additional local spices or seasoning blends.


Where Do I Start?

The next time you visit a local Nigerian market, ask for jollof rice spices or that for stew.

Stick to natural spices, I have learned to befriend nature. Skip the sachets, except you know and trust the manufacturer.

Ask for the women selling spices and seasonings, they have everything – from seasoning cubes to a plethora of flavorful spices

Don’t forget to leave a comment below.

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18 Responses

  1. Do you know I normally cook without spices. But with this your recipe page, I have learn something new. Thanks for your teaching.

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