We all agree that spices are at the heart of delicious food. One way I encourage people to accept more plant-based foods is to share the importance of spices and enhance what would otherwise be a very bland dish. If you can do this right, you are in a world of delicious, hearty and satisfying food.
If you’re looking to explore new and exciting spices to enhance your cooking, the list below is a great start. Many of these spices are native to West Africa and grow abundantly in Nigeria. Keep these in mind the next time you shop online or next time you visit an African grocery store.
For knowledge of Nigerian cuisine and ingredients, download the following copy. Vegan Nigerian Kitchen..
1. Alligator pepper
This aromatic, pungent, pepper-like spice is named after the crocodile-like skin that surrounds the seed pods. A close relative of paradise and black cardamom, it can be used to season stews and soups, or as a vegetable spice rub. It is an excellent source of zinc, calcium, magnesium and antioxidants and helps remove free radicals.
2. Cameroon Pepper
A dark red or sometimes black spice often used in Nigerian cuisine, although said to be from the neighboring West African country of Cameroon. Please note: It has a very fiery and pungent taste, so it helps a little a lot. Often, they are crushed into flakes or powder, dried whole and sold.to add Use in traditional soups and stews, or as a spice rub as an alternative to roasted vegetables and meat.
3. Ehuru (Calabash Nutmeg)
This highly fragrant spice is provided in the form of hard seeds, which are then ground or grated before being added to the dish. Especially suitable for cooking pepper soup, banga, ogbono soup, etc. This spice has a little effect. Only a small amount is needed to really enjoy a solid taste.
4. Souya spice
This popular dry spice rub is traditionally used to marinated meat before grilling, but its use is widespread. Use as a spice rub as a substitute for mushrooms, vegetables and meat, or to add a fiery kick to salads, rice and bean dishes. In addition to ground roasted ground nuts, mixes often include garlic powder, ginger powder, onion powder, African black pepper, and more.
5. Uda (grain of selim)
This spice is a bit bitter and usually adds aroma and musk flavor to the soup. Used primarily in southern Nigeria, it can be purchased as an entire pod or as a ground powder. Use the entire pod for soups and stews, or grind it into a spice rub and add it. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps relieve gastrointestinal problems.