Staple foods in the Nigerian diet include: peanuts or ground-nuts, yams, cassava, fish, rice, okra, bananas, guinea corn and millet, and palm nuts. They are usually starchy and Nigerians love to cook with a lot of pepper and spices especially those from the southwest and southeast. This recipe uses all local ingredients to create a tasty and nourishing meal. These recipes celebrate the traditional food of Nigeria:- Egusi Soup Ground Egusi seeds give this soup a unique color and flavour. If you can’t find Egusi seeds in your store, you can substitute pumpkin seeds or Pepitas which you can find in Latin American grocery stores. This soup is thickened with flour ground from seeds of gourds, melons, pumpkins, and squashes, many of which are native to Africa. 200 g Water Leaves 50 g Egusi seeds 1 teaspoon Dry Ground Red Pepper 1 medium Onion 100ml Palm Oil 10g Dry Ground Crayfish 120g Fresh Tomatoes 100ml Water Salt & Pepper to taste Wash the water leaves well in clean, fresh water. Liquidise or pulverise the onions, tomatoes and egusi seeds until smooth. Add the dry ground pepper and fry in palm oil for five minutes. Add the water, put the lid on and cook for five minutes. Now add the water leaves, replace lid and cook for a further five minutes. Finally, add the crayfish and seasoning, warming through well. Serve with pounded yam or cooked rice and a meat stew, to provide protein. Alternatively, serve with eba, fufu or any suitable carbohydrate. Curried Okra This traditional recipe for Okra (or Okro, as it is called in some part of Nigeria) is one that can be created anywhere in the world, as it uses ingredients that can be found in any local store. The word “okra” comes from Africa and means “lady’s fingers” in Igbo, one of the languages spoken in Nigeria. Although Okra originated from Africa, it is now available around the world. Some people consider Okra alone is too gooey, but this tasty recipe makes good use of it’s properties. When buying fresh okra, look for young pods free of bruises, tender but not soft, and no more than 4 inches long. 500g Okra 2 Onions 180g Oil 3 cloves garlic 2 Tomatoes 2 teaspoons of curry powder ½ teaspoon of turmeric Pinch of black pepper ½ teaspoon of salt Slice one of the onions finely and fry gently in oil. Liquidise the remaining onion, tomatoes and garlic. Add this puree to the frying onions. Add the spices. Fry gently for five minutes. Top and tail the okra and cut into pieces about 1cm thick. Add to the spices and cook gently for 10-15 minutes. Serve with cooked rice and a meat stew, for protein. With thanks to the Nigerian people who made us so welcome in their homes, gave us a love of traditional Nigerian food and who helped us overcome our fear of eating with our fingers! For further tips and ideas for cooking great and traditional food from around the world.