Would you agree with me if I told you cooking is a survival skill? As a Nigerian, despite craving exotic and foreign foods, missing out on Nigerian dishes abroad can make you feel rootless and homesick.
Most times, we laugh at Nigerians who pack foodstuffs like okporoko, dried crayfish, and Iru (Locust beans) especially because of the type of interrogation they encounter at the airport. Well, you’d be surprised to know that some Nigerians have made lucrative businesses out of it. In fact, they’re making millions from exporting these local foodstuffs abroad. Purchasing these foodstuffs/ingredients as a new immigrant can be expensive. If you’re one to convert every dollar you are about to spend to naira, you’ll likely have a heart attack after comparing the prices.
To avoid excessive spending or exceeding your budget, I will be sharing a list of some common Nigerian foods that can help you cope with feeling homesick when living abroad. However, these foods can hardly pass for our favorites but they are more likely to save our lives and money as a new immigrant abroad. Furthermore, the feeling that comes with these foods reminds us of our root.
So, it’s highly advisable to learn how to cook some of these meals before relocating abroad.
Now, let’s explore the Top 10 Nigerian foods every Nigerian(regardless of gender) should learn to cook before relocating abroad, either as a student or permanent resident.
The King of rice- Nigerian Jollof.
It’s no doubt that 99% of Nigerians enjoy eating the Nigerian jollof rice. This is backed by its advantage over other types of rice. That is, it can be embellished with a nourishing range of condiments such as salads, dodo (deep-fried plantains), beverages among other mouth-watering add-ons.
What’s more, the Nigerian Jollof is also a topic of interest to most Nigerians, especially when compared with that of other countries. Also, Jollof rice can help you connect with fellow Nigerians or spark friendships with other foreigners due to the never-ending Jollof contest.
Moin moin is a delicious and tasty Nigerian staple food that is very rich in protein. It’s prepared using bean pudding made from a combination of grounded – peeled beans, pepper, and onions. If you’ve experienced how Muslims in Nigeria enjoy this food especially when they use it to break their fast you’ll know it’s not one to miss out on.
The aroma that emanates from frying Akara on a Saturday morning elevates the spirit, especially when you enjoy it with Pap. Preparing Akara is very easy. You could do it traditionally or you could buy beans flour from the mall. It’s accessible and affordable in almost all Walmart stores if you’re in the USA.
Beans in Nigeria can be prepared in three different ways such as; Ewa-G (Ewa Agoyin- Beans and sauce separately), Adalu (Beans mixed with corn), or Jollof Beans (Beans mixed with fried palm oil).
Beans is a popular Nigeria protein dish that both genders (mostly males) enjoy eating with yam, potatoes, or Agege bread. Of course, you won’t see the Nigerian Agege bread abroad but you’ll see a nice substitute. Beans used to be quite hard to cook because of the duration it takes to be prepared. However, with a pressure pot, cooking beans can be achieved in fewer minutes.
Boli (Roasted Plantain)
The fact that most rented apartments in developed countries come with outstanding kitchenwares makes cooking less stressful. As opposed to the usual charcoal fire for roasting Boli in Nigeria, an oven can be used to achieve a well tasty roasted plantain (Boli). The fact that Boli can be enjoyed with palm oil, stew (tomato sauce), or groundnut makes it a must learn dish.
Spaghetti or Macaroni is one of the easiest meals to cook. Every Nigerian has different ways of cooking and eating spaghetti or macaroni. This can be prepared plainly to be eaten with stew and other healthy condiments or as a Jollof. Even though there are several brands, the available substitute still gives you a homey feeling.
White rice and Stew (Tomato sauce)
It is no doubt that most Nigerians eat this meal during the festive season especially Christmas. Learning to cook this dish will not only ignite cherished moments back home but can save you a lot of money and stress abroad.
Chicken/Goat Pepper soup
This is the easiest to prepare, considering the fact that only a few ingredients are needed. These ingredients are accessible and affordable home and abroad. The smell and taste of pepper soup during winter will chase every cold hunting you.
The popular favorite draw soup of Nigerians that allows one to finish two plates of Eba without being full. Yes, that’s it.
Ingredients for preparing Ogbono soup are easy to carry along when traveling.
This type of soup is popular amongst western Nigerians but loved by many Nigerians. Packaging grounded egusi is one of the easiest add-ons to luggage when traveling. Learning to prepare Egusi soup is one of the best decisions you’ll be grateful for when you’ve finally relocated abroad. This is because it can be eaten with or without any condiment. But it’s best if you can gain access to Garri (Eba), fufu, or semo to complement the soup.
So, if you’re a typical Nigerian who loves to eat Nigerian food and wishes to continue eating them even after relocating, enhance your culinary skills. Do not be that Nigerian who craves Nigerian food but cannot prepare it and as a result, spends their money on fast-food joints abroad.
Also, introducing these mentioned Nigerian meals to your foreign friends is always a nice way to exchange cultural experiences and make new friends.