Friday 8 July 2022

5 Nigerian Spices to Enhance Your Cooking

We can all agree that spices are at the heart of great tasting food. One of the ways I encourage people to embrace more plant-based food is by sharing the importance of spice to elevate what might otherwise be a very bland dish. If you can get this right, you are in for a world of tasty, hearty and satisfying meals.

If you're looking to explore new and exciting spices to enhance your cooking, the following list is a great start. Many of these spices are indigenous to West Africa and grow in abundance in Nigeria. Next time you are shopping online or the next time you visit an African grocery store, keep a look out for these. 

For more Nigerian food and ingredient knowledge, download a copy of Vegan Nigerian Kitchen.

Suya spice

1. Alligator Pepper 

This aromatic, pungent and peppery spice gets its name from the alligator-like skin that surrounds the seeds’ pod. It is a close relative of grains of paradise and black cardamom, and can be used to season stews, soups, or used as a spice rub for vegetables. It is a good source of zinc, calcium, magnesium and antioxidants, which help eliminate free radicals. 

2. Cameroon Pepper

A dark red or sometimes black spice that is said to originate from neighbouring West African Country Cameroon, but which is used often in Nigerian cooking. Be warned: it has an extremely fiery and pungent flavour, so a little goes a long way. It is often sold whole and dried, in flakes or ground in powder form. Add it to traditional soups and stews, or use it as a spice rub for roasted vegetables and meat alternatives.

3. Ehuru (Calabash Nutmeg)

This highly fragrant spice comes in the form of hard seeds which are then ground or grated before adding to a dish. It is particularly great in dishes such as pepper soup, banga or ogbono soup. A little goes a long way with this spice; you only need a small amount to truly enjoy the robust flavour. 

4. Suya Spice 

This popular dry spice rub is traditionally used to marinate meat before grilling, but its use is far-reaching. Use it as a spice rub for mushrooms, vegetables and meat substitutes, or use it to add a fiery kick to salads, rice and bean dishes. Along with ground roasted groundnuts, the mix often includes garlic powder, ginger powder, onion powder, African black pepper and more. 

5. Uda (Grains of Selim)

This spice has a slightly bitter taste and is usually added to soups to add an aromatic and musky flavour. It is used mainly in southern Nigeria and can be bought as whole pods or ground powder. Use the whole pods in soups and stews, or add it ground to spice rubs. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can help relieve gastrointestinal issues.


No comments:

Post a Comment