25 Nov

5 Nigerian Food For This Coming Holiday!

What’s the holiday without food?

As a kid, aside from the new clothes and shoes, one of the reasons I looked forward to the holiday festivities was the food; there was always excess food and even more drinks to go round.

By convention, lots of families buy livestock in bulk during the holiday season – poultry, goats and cows – to prepare different meals, ranging from the staple traditional food, to intercontinental dishes. Some people go all out to include snacks, appetizers, and deserts, but for a good number of Nigerians, a meal and any kind of drink is good enough.

Common holiday meals in Nigeria consist of a variety of rice – jollof, fried, coconut, or just plain ole white rice and stew, different kinds of soups and ‘swallow’ and then a lot of meat. It’s hard to be on a diet during the holiday season, I dare say it’s almost impossible because the holiday is often a great excuse to indulge.

1. White rice and stew

This is one of the easiest meals to prepare this holiday season, especially if you do not have the time nor energy to go the extra mile. Cooked rice – Basmati or Ofada – and stew or gravy will do just fine. When served with moimoi, fried plantain, or salad, it’s basically Christmas in your mouth.

Recipe from Nigerian Food TV

1.5kg fresh tomatoes

100g canned tomato paste

1 litre vegetable Oil

600g chicken or beef

2 or 3 medium bulbs onions

5 habanero pepper (atarodo)

2  stock cubes

thyme and curry (1 tablespoon each)

Salt to taste


Open the thick canned tomato paste, scoop content into a bowl and dilute with a little water. Set aside.

Blend the tomatoes, peppers and onions.

Pour the blended tomatoes into a pot and let it boil until the consistency is thicker and the excess water is dried up.

In another pot, add the cleaned cut chicken or beef, add a little water, thyme, curry, 1 stock cube and salt to taste. Cook the chicken or beef, then fry/grill, set aside and reserve the liquid – stock.

Now, heat up the vegetable oil, add some onions  Add the dried tomatoes and tomato puree and fry for about 25 minutes or until the tomato loses its sour taste. Stir constantly to prevent burning at the bottom.

Add the chicken or beef stock and cook for 10 minutes. Next, add the fried chicken or beef stock cube and salt to taste. Cover and leave to simmer for 5 minutes, and your stew is ready.

2. Jollof rice

Commonly described as the food that makes everyone happy, Jollof rice is not just a Christmas favourite, it’s a party favourite. It’s also served with side dishes like moimoi, salad, and fried plantain.

Recipe from All Nigerian recipes


750g long grain parboiled rice

500 mls tomato stew/sauce

Pepper and salt (to taste)

2 medium onions

3 seasoning cubes

2 teaspoons thyme

Ingredients for tomato sauce/stew


600g tinned tomato paste: (or watery tinned tomato puree: 1.2kg)

Vegetable oil: a generous quantity

1 to 2 medium sized onions


Pour the fresh blended tomato into a pot and cook at high heat until almost all the water is dried. If you have the watery tinned tomato puree, add these to the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook till the water in the tomato puree dries up.

Add the vegetable oil, the chopped onions and the thick tomato puree that was mixed in step 2 above (if you are using the puree). Stir very well.

Fry at very low heat and stir at short intervals till the oil is completely separated from the tomato puree. A well fried tomato puree will also have streaks of oil, unlike when you first added the oil and it was just a smooth mix of the tomato puree and oil. Taste the fried tomato puree to make sure that the raw tomato taste is gone. With time and experience, you can tell that the tomato puree is well fried from the aroma alone.

If you are happy with the taste, and sure that all the water is dried as much as possible, pour out the excess vegetable oil.

If you will use whole chicken then wash and cut it into pieces. Cook with the thyme, Knorr cubes and 2 bulbs of onions (chopped). The cooking time depends on the type of chicken. The rooster or cockerel cooks much faster than the hen but the hen is definitely tastier. Grill or fry when it’s cooked.

Parboil your rice, then rinse and pour in a sieve to drain.

Pour the chicken stock and the tomato stew into a sizeable pot and leave to boil.

Add the drained parboiled rice into the stew. The water level should be the same level of the rice. This is to ensure that all the water dries up by the time the rice is cooked.

Cover the pot and leave to cook on low to medium heat. This way the rice does not burn before the water dries up.

3. Fried rice

This adopted Asian dish is quite easy to make, the hassle is in chopping the vegetables. But once that’s out of the way, everything else is a cake walk. Fried rice is tasty and healthy when prepared right, and the colours of the vegetable are the perfect complement for the Christmas decorations.

Recipe from African Bites


6 cups cooked rice

¼- 1/2 cup canola oil

1 medium onion sliced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

½- pound liver (cut bite size)

1 pound large shrimp (peeled and deveined)

1 teaspoon pepper sauce (chili sauce)

½ teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon curry powder

1-2 teaspoon maggi powder or chicken bouillon (optional)

1 tablespoon maggi liquid or soy sauce (optional)

Salt to taste

12-16 oz vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans)


Heat a large wok or skillet on medium high heat with about a tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil.

Add the rice and stir vigorously for about 2 to 3 minutes adding maggi liquid and a tablespoon or more of water or chicken/beef stock as needed to moisten rice. Set aside. Quickly wipe the wok or skillet with a clean paper towel or cloth.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the wok; add shrimp, lightly seasoned with salt. Sauté until just cooked through. Remove and add to the fried rice.

Next add another tablespoon of oil, let it heat up, then add the liver or beef lightly season with salt and pepper, quickly stir fry for about a 2 minutes. Remove and add to the rice. Quickly wipe the wok or skillet with a clean paper towel or cloth.

Then add a tablespoon of oil into the wok, followed by onions, thyme, garlic, peas, carrots, pepper sauce, white pepper, curry powder, and chicken bouillon powder. Stir until fragrant for about 2 minutes.

Finally return the combination of rice, liver, and shrimp to the wok. Stir until everything has been fully combined. Adjust seasoning salt, and pepper if necessary.

Garnish with chopped scallion and serve.

4. Egusi soup

Egusi or melon soup is one of the most popular Nigerian soups, used for eating swallows like Pounded Yams, Eba, fufu amala, or wheat meal. It is also popular in other parts of West Africa and the cooking methods differs from place to place.

Recipe from Lohis Creations


Assorted meat: 2 cups Goat meat, tripe, beef, stock fish. All washed boiled and seasoned to taste.

1 cup blended melon/egusi seeds

1/4 cup palm oil.

1 knorr cube.

1 tbsp cray fish

1 tsp dried pepper

1/2 cup meat broth

1 cup finely chopped bitter leaf/spinach

1.2 cup dried fish

Salt to taste


In a clean pot, add meat broth and assorted meat/stock fish and allow to come to a boil. Add knorr cube, crayfish, and dried pepper and allow to boil for 5mins.

Add palm oil and allow to boil for 5 more mins. Reduce the heat to medium and add the egusi. Stir till it is completely mixed with the meat sauce and allow to boil for 10mins.

Taste and add salt if needed. Add the chopped bitter leaf/spinach and dried fish (optional) and allow to boil for 5 more minutes. Serve with pounded yam or garri.

5. Pepper soup

Nigerian pepper soup is also a people’s favourite that is perfect for the holiday season. Kitchen butterfly aptly describes it as a “one-stop soup for all ails – when you are down with the flu, when you’ve just had a baby, when you are recovering from an illness, etcetera.” The broth is prepared in a variety of ways in different parts of the country.

Recipe from Kitchen Butterfly


1.25kg of ‘soup’ (hard) chicken or goat meat, cut in bite-sized pieces

2.5 litres of water

3 tablespoons of pepper soup spice mix (recipe below)

1 stalk of lemon grass, bruised and cut into three pieces, tied into small bundles

1 – 2 Maggi bouillon cubes

Red chilli powder, to taste

Salt, to taste

2 teaspoons of ground crayfish (optional)


Gently toast the whole spices – aniseed pepper, coriander, cumin, fennel seeds and black peppercorns in a pan, for a minute or so. Remove from the heat when the fragrance starts coming through.

Allow to cool then in a spice grinder, combine with the ground spices and blend till fine. Store in an airtight container and use as required.

Place chopped meat in a large pot and cover with some of the water (about 500 ml). Add a tablespoon of the spice mix, some salt, the maggi bouillon cubes, some red chilli powder, the crayfish if using and the lemon grass bundles.  Stir and allow to simmer on low heat till liquid comes to a boil.

When the liquid comes to the boil, add the remaining 2 litres of water and the rest of the pepper soup spice mix. Allow cook on medium – low heat. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and simmer till the meat is soft but not falling off the bone.

Serve with boiled plantains and yams and some palm oil, if you like.


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