Having snacks are a good way to break the hunger if you are not in the mood to try any regular food. Also, snacks can be enjoyed on-the-go, as they need zero preparation. If you ever get hungry while on the road or in a position where you cannot cook, snacks can be just what you need to get rid of the hunger.
In Nigeria, we enjoy snacks as often as we can, either as a way to take care of hunger or just as refreshments. Snacks are also served at parties and functions rather than food at times. Some of the snacks are processed, while others are simply whole foods that take little or no processing. Before the colonial period, the many Nigerian tribes have enjoyed their varieties of snacks that are still enjoyed to this day. Some people, usually those who are older, prefer these “local” snacks to some of the ones that are processed and refined, which we claim to be foreign. The newer generation enjoys these foreign snacks because it appeals to them more.
So today, we would be looking at some of these local healthy Nigerian snacks.
This snack of roasted plantain has its origin from the riverine area of Nigeria. It is a favourite for so many people who cannot resist the taste of plantain. It is a seasonal snack, only available during the plantain season, which is towards the last few months of the year. But when it comes out, it is common to find stands in many streets and junctions with plantain roasting.
Although most people use ripe plantain for this, there are also those who prefer to have unripe roasted plantain, but that does not suit everyone’s taste buds. To make bole, the plantains are peeled and placed on a hot, local grill where they are constantly turned till it is evenly brown, but not burnt. Bole is personally my favorite, and best enjoyed hot with groundnuts, although it can be eaten alone. In some places, it is served as a meal with fish sauce. Ripe plantain is a source of carbohydrates, as well as various vitamins, dietary fibre, and calcium. All of those nutrients get absorbed into the body and impact it in healthy ways. So make sure to enjoy bole when it comes into season.
We owe it to our brothers in the North for this delightful ball of sweet goodness. Millet and groundnut are the chief ingredients of this snack, but corn is also added to the mix. Pepper and sugar are also added to enhance the taste. The balls are very soft and easily melt to your mouth. It is normal for you to feel the peppery taste. The millets, groundnuts, and corn are grounded to powder then molded into balls by adding water and a little oil. Eating dankwa gives you the benefits of fat, carbohydrate, and fibre that are present in the groundnut, millet, and corn mix.
Most people enjoy akara as healthy Nigerian breakfast or dinner, but this healthy snack can be enjoyed at any time of the day and anywhere. Akara is made from bean paste, which is then fried in hot oil. Onions and other spices are added to the paste to improve the taste. It can be eaten with bread or pap, or just alone. However you choose to consume it, you would always enjoy the fine taste of akara. Akara is highly rich in protein because of the main ingredient, which is beans.
This is another crunchy snack from the Northern part of the county. Just like dankwa, kuli-kuli is also made from groundnut, and they are often sold in the same store or stand. Kuli-kuli often appears in long stripes, but it can also be made in any form. Kuli-kuli is made from roasted groundnuts. The groundnuts are then ground into a paste and mixed with spices to enhance the taste. The oil is squeezed out of the paste and is then used for other things. The paste is fried in hot oil. Little oil is used to fry kuli-kuli because the paste would continue to produce oil while frying. It is then left to cool then eaten.
5. Roasted Corn/Boiled Corn
Nigerians love roasted corn. When it is corn season, it is common to find Nigerians walking about work corn cobs between their teeth, digging away. The popularity of this snack is across the nation, and it is enjoyed by young and old. Corn is heated on a local grill until it has a rich brown colour. There is also boiled corn, which is corn that has been boiled in salted water till it is tender. It can be eaten with pear or just taken alone. Corn is a rich source of dietary fibre which aids digestion and bowel movement. It also contains carbohydrates, potassium, and other essential nutrients.
Roasted corn is also typically eaten with Nigerian pear (ube).
6 Nigerian Chin Chin
Chin Chin is another popular and affordable snack in Nigeria. It is a fried crispy snack, with a crunchy taste.
Chin Chin is a great Nigerian dessert and is also called dough rocks.
Nigerian Chin Chin is made from dough containing flour, sugar, butter, eggs or nutmeg, and milk. It is cut into small sizes in varying shapes and sizes and deep-fried in vegetable oil.
7. Nigerian egg roll
The Nigerian egg roll has been a staple snack and a popular dessert. It is made with flour, containing boiled egg inside and rolled into a perfect oval shape. Nigerian egg rolls are eaten with soft drinks and can easily fill up.
8. Nigerian Puff Puff
This is another prominent Nigerian pastry made of fried dough. Nigerian Puff Puffs are prepared with dough made up of flour, yeast, sugar, butter, salt, water and eggs (or baking powder), and deep-fried in vegetable oil.
9. Nigerian meat pie
The Nigerian meat pie is a yummy snack that is equally delicious and quite healthy too. It can be baked or fried with dough and can be prepared with many ingredients ranging from meat, minced beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, and tomatoes.
10. Plantain chips
Nigerians enjoy eating plantain chips, as it’s one of the yummiest snacks in the country. They are locally known as kpekere in Nigeria. Plantain chips are sliced, fried unripe plantains that are crispy, tasty, and crunchy. It can easily be made at home, and it also a very nutritious snack.
Other Healthy Nigerian Snacks
These are other health Nigerian snacks that can also serve as food or side dishes:
- Moin Moin
- Nigerian Buns
- Sausage rolls (gala)
- Kpo kpo garri
Did we miss any Nigerian snack? Let us know below!