If you don’t know the names of many of the local snacks in Nigeria, you’ll get to learn about them along with the ingredients used in their preparation as well as their health benefits.
Popular Nigerian Snacks, their ingredients, and health benefits
Puff Puff is a popular Nigerian snack. It can be prepared in a variety of ways. One of the ways is by spicing up the batter with diced fresh pepper after which you deep fry with vegetable oil.
You can also prepare Puff Puff in a healthy way by making the Puff Puff stick. It is prepared with a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg and honey drizzle. Also, you can serve it with chocolate beverage.
Other healthy Puff Puff options include the Puff Puff Waffles. This is usually prepared using the waffle maker. You pour the batter in and cook according to pan instructions.
Another type of Puff Puff is the Puff Puff toast which you use a sandwich toaster to prepare. The first step is to grease it with a little oil then pour the batter in and wait for your Puff Puff toast to get ready.
The ingredients of Puff Puff include flour, yeast, sugar, water, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vegetable oil.
You can start with a bowl in which you mix flour, yeast, sugar with water until you have a smooth paste. The batter should be thick and smooth with a couple of bubbles. Then cover the mixture with a table cloth. Afterwards, set aside in a warm place for 45 minutes. The batter will be double its original size when ready.
The next step is to set a frying pan on low-medium heat, add in the oil. Once the oil is hot, you can pour in the batter. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly. Cook until bubbles appear on top then flip and cook on the other side.
Afterwards, use a sharp knife to cut the puff puff into long sticks, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and serve warm.
Coconut candies are chewable, crunchy or candy-like snacks. It is usually served as desserts or treats and it is quite easy to make.
It is made by thinly grating coconut and frying it. Coconut candies come in the form of a creamy or golden brown colour, however, this colour is dependent on the choice of adding water or not, respectively. With water you can determine the caramelizing level.
The ingredients of coconut candy include coconut flesh, white granulated sugar and water.
The first step in the preparation is to break the coconut and pry out the meat/flesh. Then grate the coconut flesh and set aside. Afterwards, combine the water and sugar in a pot and boil on medium heat without stirring.
As the mixture begins to look thicker and the color changes to a very light brown you can reduce the heat. Then, add the coconut and mix thoroughly with a spatula, until it is well incorporated.
You should keep stirring until the mixture is a ”browner” color and feels ”kind-of” grainy on your spatula then put off the heat.
You can mold into any shape of choice or simply leave it to cool completely and harden. Then cut into square or rectangles. Also, you can place the candy in the freezer or refrigerator to harden faster.
Some of the health benefits of coconut candy include increasing energy expenditure, improving blood cholesterol level and lowering the risk of heart disease.
Chin Chin is a delicious and crunchy snack made from well-prepared dough. It is usually deep-fried but can also be oven-baked.
Usually, the size and shape of the snack is generally of individual preference. Chin Chin can be stored for a long period (about 5 weeks) if stored properly in airtight containers.
The ingredients include flour, margarine, whole milk (evaporated, condensed, powdered), baking powder(optional), granulated sugar, salt, ground nutmeg, eggs(optional), vegetable oil (for frying) and water.
Chin-Chin can serve as an energy booster, it is also a source of vitamins like A, B3, and D.
Akara (Bean Cakes)
Akara is one of the most popular snacks in Nigeria. It is made from beans flour and can be eaten with pap, custard or garri. Usually, akara is spiced to taste and deep-fried into balls.
Akara can also be eaten with either plantain/yam/potato fries with stew. This snack is high in fiber and antioxidants. Beans is also a good food option if you’re looking to reduce your waistline and it can also reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Meat pie is another popular snack in Nigeria although it can be traced to outside of Nigeria. It is an excellent energy booster and it is made using flour, Irish potatoes, carrots, minced meat, onions, vegetable oil, bouillion cubes and thyme.
Donkwa is a traditional snack with origins from the Hausa tribe in northern Nigeria. It is made of finely grounded corn meal and groundnut, spiced with Chili peppers
Some of the benefits of Donkwa include:
- Promotes weight loss
- Boost fertility
- Fight depression
- Boosts Memory
- Regulates blood sugar
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Lowers the risk of heart diseases
The ingredients used in making Donkwa include groundnut, ground chilli, salt, finely roasted maize meal and sugar
The steps include blending the groundnuts until they are fine then add it to the maize meal along with salt, pepper, and sugar. Afterwards, add the rest remaining ingredients to the maize meal mix and finally shape the mix into small balls on a plate and serve.
Boiled maize & coconut
Boiled maize or corn and coconut is a health snack that is packed with fibre. Another way to prepare is by roasting the maize instead of boiling it
Plantain chips is another popular snack in Nigeria. The chips come in several varieties which could either be ripe, unripe and these variants can either be flavoured with salt or sugar.
Apart from chips, plantain can also be roasted, fried or battered as a snack. The battered type is called Gizdodo which is made by placing fried plantain in a lined dish of paper towel to drain excess grease.
Egg roll is prepared by wrapping up a boiled egg in dough, and deep-frying it. Egg is an excellent source of protein.
Popularly known as the crunchy corn meal snack, Kokoro is native to the western part of Nigeria. It is made from specially prepared dough consisting of corn meal, sugar and water (boiling hot water), rolled to shape and deep-fried.
Kulikuli (Groundnut Cake)
KuliKuli is native to the Nigerian Hausa tribe. It is made from roasted peanuts through the process of grinding, spicing and deep frying.
Other popular Nigerian snacks include:
- Fish roll
- Wara chicken bread rolls