What is an appetizer? Appetizers are any finger foods consumed prior to the main course meal. This simply means that they are offered to whet your appetite before the main dish is served.
Nigeria is known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse cuisine, which includes a wide range of appetizers. From small bites to large plates, Nigerian appetizers offer a tasty and nutritious start to any meal. Whether you are looking for something quick and easy to snack on or you want to impress guests with your culinary skills, there is no shortage of healthy Nigerian appetizers to choose from.
Healthy Nigerian Appetizers
Here are some of the most popular and delicious healthy Nigerian appetizers:
1. Moi Moi
This steamed bean pudding is made from a mixture of ground beans, spices, and vegetables. It is a low-fat, high-protein option that is perfect for vegetarians and those looking to reduce their meat intake.
2. Fried Plantains
Fried plantains are a staple in Nigerian cuisine and are a delicious and healthy alternative to French fries. They are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and can be served with a variety of dips and sauces to add extra flavor.
3. Garden Eggs and Groundnut Paste
A nutritious Nigerian snack is the combination of garden eggs and groundnut paste. Garden eggs are a fruit that are high in fiber and water content, while groundnut paste is a local type of peanut butter that is creamy, tasty, and high in protein.
Groundnut paste is also commonly referred to by its local names, including Ose Oji, Okwo Ose, or Okwu Oji.
The two ingredients make a perfect pairing, with the groundnut paste being spread on top of the garden eggs and eaten raw. This snack is often served at traditional events, such as traditional wedding celebrations.
Chin-chin is a delicious and crunchy snack that is perfect for keeping your jaws busy. It is a pastry that is made from flour, water, sugar, butter, and milk, and is then fried and cut into small pieces. Many people prefer to make their chin-chin at home, as it is easy and affordable to do so. Chin-chin is a popular treat at events and restaurants and is typically served in small portions that are easy to eat and finish quickly. Whether you buy chin-chin or make it yourself, it is a tasty and satisfying snack that is enjoyed by many people.
These black-eyed pea fritters are a popular breakfast food in Nigeria and are high in protein and fiber. They are often served with a variety of dips and sauces, and are a tasty and healthy alternative to donuts or croissants.
6. Small Chops
No Nigerian celebration is complete without the presence of the mini delicacies known as small chops. These bite-sized snacks are best enjoyed by eating them with your fingers, hence the nickname “finger foods.” Some popular types of small chops include:
Spring Rolls: which are deep-fried pastries filled with either veggies or meat. Another popular variation is the Nigerian egg roll.
Puff Puff: which are yeast-leavened, ball-shaped pastries.
Asun: spicy, fried bits of soft meat that have been cut into small pieces.
Suya, which is a grilled meat delicacy, is beloved by many. Originating from the northern region, this dish has become popular nationwide and even beyond. The cooking method resembles grilling or barbecuing, but the spice blend used is unique and mainly consists of northern spices that give suya its spicy and distinctive flavor. The meat, either beef or chicken, is cooked over a fire, with the heat adjusted to achieve the desired level of doneness.
Suya is often enjoyed in the evenings when vendors are out, making it a popular evening snack in Nigeria. It is also a common appetizer at events.
Groundnuts are a nutritious nut with plenty of fiber and healthy fatty acids. Pairing them with foods like bananas or cucumbers provides even more nutrients and benefits to your health. Another popular and tasty snack is combining groundnuts with roasted plantains, making for a satisfying appetizer. Another option is having groundnuts with biscuits for a filling and energy-packed snack.