Nigerian food is delicious. It’s spicy, it’s rich and it’s full of flavour. But the thing that makes Nigerian cuisine so special is its diversity.
There are a lot of dishes available, so which ones should you choose from your catering service at your next event?
You have your traditional foods like Egusi Soup, Eba, Rice & Peanuts, Fufu and Okra Stew. Then there are other dishes unique to certain regions such as Yoruba food (the most popular type of Nigerian food) or Hausa food.
In addition, there are those dishes that are common across all parts of Nigeria but are prepared differently depending on where they come from.
So, if you’re throwing an event and want to surprise people with some Nigerian dishes, we have a list of 20 Nigerian catering foods ideas that are going to please every single one of your guests. Let’s go!
1. Egusi soup
Egusi soup is one of the most famous Nigerian dishes. This soup comes from the Igbo people who live in southeast Nigeria. The name means “to suck out” which is exactly what happens when you eat egusi soup.
Egusi is a West African term for the dried and pulverized seeds of plants like melons and squash which are used in many West African recipes. The reason why Nigerians make use of these seeds is that they are high in fat and protein.
Seeing how they constitute an important part of West African cuisine, you should have at least one dish like this soup on your menu.
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Eba is a West African staple meal that is popular in Nigeria and portions of Ghana. Garri, which is the main ingredient of this stew, is a type of cooked starchy vegetable made from dried grated cassava flour.
It is similar to the Italian polenta and works great as a side to meat and roasted vegetables. This means you can either serve it as a side or incorporate it into one of the meaty dishes.
Do you have a lot of people to feed? Check our post on Catering Food Ideas For Large Groups
You can’t have a list of Nigerian catering foods ideas and not mention fufu.
Fufu is a popular side across all West African nations, and you will usually see it accompany main dishes like soups, meat, or even efo riro (we’ll get to that later on).
You may also see it spelt foofoo or foufou, but the food will be the same: starchy ball-shaped bites made from cassava flour that is silky, thick, stretchy, and delicious.
Fufu has many aliases, one of which is ugali. This is a porridge which is made from maize flour and water. It’s a staple food in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.
Maize is gluten free. For more Gluten Free Porridge Recipes, click here.
4. Ogbono Soup
Ogbono soup, or what international people might call Draw Soup, is a nutritious Nigerian soup. It’s cooked with pulverised African mango seeds, palm oil, and different meats like beef, chicken (but you can even cook it with fish), vegetables, and traditional seasonings.
You can pair your ogbono soup with all kinds of fufu such as pounded yam or eba.
Ogbono Soup and eba go really well together as ogbono has a very intense taste. In contrast, the mild flavour of fufu balances the stronger ogbono.
Are you wondering How Much Food Do I Need For A Party? We can help
We are continuing our run-through of Nigerian catering foods ideas with another soup.
Peppersoup is probably the most famous Nigerian soup. Chicken, catfish, goat meat, or offal can all be used as the protein source for this dish.
This popular meal is considered a staple for ceremonial occasions, so if you are celebrating something, this is a Nigerian dish you must have.
Perhaps you are celebrating an engagement? If so, see our Catering Food Ideas For Engagement Parties
8. Groundnut Soup
Groundnut soup (also known as peanut stew) is a traditional Nigerian dish served with rice and a starch – such as eba or pounded yam.
It basically consists of groundnuts, palm oil, pepper, and spices, and can be served with fufu or rice.
Are you wondering how to Cater For 100 Guests On A Budget? We have some tips.
9. Yams With Coconut Milk
Speaking of yams, yam pottage is another dish Nigerian people love to make and eat, and one that you could easily add to your buffet.
Yam pottage is yams cooked in coconut milk. Luckily, they taste great both when hot or cold, so don’t worry if they stay out and their temperature falls.
If you need to keep something cold for an event, how do you do it? Check our piece on Keeping Deli Meats & Fruit Cold At A Party
Next up is Yamarita which is another beloved dish in Nigerian households. As its name hints, it is yams that are boiled and then coated in egg, flour, ginger, garlic, and salt before they’re fried.
It goes great with tomato stew, but you can also add simple sauces on the side like egg sauce and ketchup.
Feel like Indian food rather than Nigerian? Then check out our piece on Jeeta Catering
11. Fish Stew
Fried fish stew is a delicious Nigerian dish that can be combined with lots of side dishes.
Not certain how much food to prepare? See our post on Calculating Food Portions For Catering
12. Obe Ata
The Nigerian obe ata is a rich and fragrant red capsicum-and-tomato-based sauce that can be used in stews and braises or boiled down into a dipping sauce.
The amazing thing with obe ata is how versatile it can be. Since its main ingredients are red bell peppers, chilli peppers, and tomatoes, it is very easy to add it to any of your dishes to give an extra flavour. Alternatively you can serve it as a dip for yams.
Were you thinking that finger food might work well? Our Finger Food Platter Ideas has lots of suggestions
Efo is a leafy green delight, sautéed in palm oil and flavoured with spices, red onion, fish stock, and different meats.
It goes nicely with pounded yam, eba, and amala, among other starches. You can opt for efo riro, the efo version that has spinach and is simply mouthwatering!
Are you feeding people early in the morning? Our Breakfast Catering Food Ideas are perfect for you.
14. Jollof Rice
This is an obvious choice for an article on Nigerian catering foods ideas.
Why? Because it’s West Africa’s most beloved dish, ideal for large gatherings. Spiced and simmered in a tasty tomato broth, it is long-grain rice seasoned with Nigerian-style curry powder and dried thyme.
The best way to serve it is with plantains and some coleslaw on the side. Because Nigerians love their carbs!
Want some budget-friendly options? Cheap Catering Food Ideas will have you covered
Suya is one of the best Nigerian street foods you can try and one of the best options to add to your menu. It is a spicy meat kabab that reminds Nigerian people of their younger years and one that you just can’t say no to.
Full of flavour and spices, if you have Nigerian guests, they will really appreciate you bringing those childhood memories back to them.
16. Fried Sweet Plantains
Ask any Nigerian and they will tell you that sweet plantains are an upgrade to any dish. So, make sure to ask for some fried sweet plantains to take your stews and rice to the next level.
If you want to have plantains as the main ingredient on your menu, then go for an ewa riro with dodo, which translates as stewed beans with plantains.
Love plantains and their cousins, the bananas? Then take a look at our Banana Desserts Recipes
Amala is a traditional Nigerian meal and a special one for the Yoruba people. It is made with homemade yam flour, and it is like polenta in texture, but with much more taste.
You can pair it with the fish stew, ogbono soup, or any other soup or stew you fancy.
As a popular Nigerian dish, it is another must-have for your event. Even if you serve it plain, your Nigerian guests will enjoy eating it.
Have you got a festival or fete coming up? Check out our post on Festival Catering Food Ideas
Yam Fritters, or Ojojo, is a typical Nigerian snack or finger food prepared with grated water yam (Isu Ewura).
When served with hot pap, garri, or oatmeal, ojojo can easily count as a meal, as it is quite filling. Therefore, if you’re short on funds, you fill your guests up with a little extra ojojo.
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Nigerian Chinchin is a famous deep-fried dough snack in Nigeria and just had to make our list of Nigerian catering foods ideas. Chinchin can also be baked, however, it is less popular than the fried variant.
Chinchin can be cooked hard, soft, or anywhere in-between. However, getting them soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside is always the best way to go.
Asun is traditionally cooked with smoked goat flesh, but that’s hard to come by in most areas, so your caterer will most probably suggest you have it with raw goat meat.
Originally, Asun is cooked with atarodos, aka scotch bonnet peppers. However, but you might want something milder for your event, like some sweet bell peppers.
But hey, if you and your guests are up for a challenge, go with the authentic recipe and see who can take the spiciness!
Talking of spices, our Thai Catering Food Ideas include some fiery options.
We hope this will inspire you to explore more about Nigerian food and bring some of these amazing dishes to your event.
If you really want to make an impression, you might want to bring some Nigerian drinks to the table too, but either way, these dishes are going to be the star of the night.