Food is something that we all eat. And by “we” I am not taking about just humans but all living things in the planet today. Food is meant to replenish the body and keep us alive.
Different tribes in Nigeria like the Igbo, yoruba, hausa and the hundreds of other minority ethnic groups have their own type of food. The way they prepare these foods and how it is eaten is also different.
Here, I discuss about the types of foods eaten by the Major tribes in Nigeria. How they are eaten. What ingredients are used. Why these ingredients are used, and the origin of how these food came about.
Igbo, Yoruba And Hausa Foods
I know these three tribes are not the only tribes in Nigeria. There are hundreds of other tribes, but it would be unrealistic for me to go into every Tribes in the country one by one , so I have chosen to talk about just the Major three. These are the Igbo from the East, the Yoruba from the West, and the Hausa from the North.
For the yoruba, they are well known for there Amala, other foods include gbegiri, akara etc.
The Amala is mainly made with yam flour, Gbegiri is a kind of soup made with beans, and akara is made with beans also.
By just looking at the food, you will notice that these people traditionally ate what is available in there region.
For example, you could easily plant yam in the Yoruba land. Hence, the main traditional food there is Amala. Which of course is made from yam. The same goes for Gbegiri and Akara.
Early Yoruba Food – From Planting To Cooking
In the Ancient times, when there were no mechanical devices, the ingredients used in making these foods had to be planted manually. This means owing a farm. Although this is not a problem since farmlands are pass from one generation to the other.
The head of the yam is the part that is planted and must have been saved during the previous season before it would be planted. Usually, a man would marry more than one wife in other to have many children to work on the farm. But with many labourers, come more mouths to feed.
After toiling the soil and successfully planting the yam, the farmer and his family get to wait for at least a year before harvesting. During this time, they survive from harvest from the previous year. And if this harvest is surplus they get to trade them with other Farmers to get other foods they do not have.
When the crop is ready to be harvested, they get to the farm with their entire family for harvesting. Harvesting can take weeks to complete depending on how large the farm is. Then these crops need to be transported back home were they are made into the different foods like Amala, akara, etc.
Early Igbo food – From Planting To Cooking
The igbos are well known for foods like Nkwobi, uha soup, Fufu/Garri and yam. Now almost all tribes in Nigeria eat Garri so it is something that is popular in the country. In some part of igbo land, the yam is seen as a highly precious food. So almost all rich families in Igbo history strieve to feed their family with yam. Infact, yam is so important that some igbos bear the name “Oriji” meaning “One who eats yam”. And there is also a new yam festival were people from different villages come together every year to celebrate. All of these is just to tell you how import this food is important for the igbos.
Nkwobi is usually cooked with cow foot and prepared with other spices. It can be cooked whichever way you want. What is most important is the cow foot. If there is no cow foot then you cannot call it Nkwobi, even if it has other part of cow in it. At least a cow foot must be included.
Garri is not just peculiar to the igbos but is enjoyed by every tribe in Nigeria. It is usually eaten with soup and is made with cassava. Sometimes, pounded yam is used instaed of Garri to eat soup. And it is exactly what it sounds like. Cooked yam that is then pounded and eaten with soup.
Early Hausa Food – From Planting to Cooking
The hausas are mainly concentrated in northern Nigeria and have a very rich culture and variety of native foods. These include Dan Wake, Masa, Miya Geda, Suya etc.
Dan Wake is a food that is made with lots of ingredients including bean flour and kuka. Now notice that beans is a major ingredients in Dan Wake and as we all know, they readily grow in northern Nigeria. So the Ancient Hausa made their meals with what is most available to them at the time.
Suya is also a major part of traditional hausa food. Suya is simply roasted meat mixed with different ingredients. It can be any kind of meat but cow meat are mainly used. Since the Hausas are closely related to the Fulanis, they get to make Suya since cow meat is readily available in northern Nigeria.
We can’t go into all the traditional hausa foods so we have mainly concentrate on just a few.
Of cause, all of the ingredients used in making these foods readily grow in the north. And almost every farmer have them in there farms. When they are needed for food, all a farmer need to do is just harvest what is needed for cooking.