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Glossary

Note: This list is by no means exhaustive, so we urge you to check back often for updates.

Akara

This is a Nigerian snack made from beans that has been blended and has a mix of seasonings added to it. It is more traditionally deep fried in palm oil and can often be found as a road side snack in Nigeria much like the hot dog vendors in places like New York.

Amala

This is a Yoruba term used for yam flour (mixed with hot water). Here, the yam is processed into a powder form which is then stirred into hot water to form a dark brown dough. There are two varieties of Amala: the type which turns dark brown and another, called Amala Lafun, a processed derivative of Cassava, which produces an off-white color when mixed with hot water. Either version can be eaten as a side dish with popular Nigerian soups/stews such as Ewedu, Ila Asepo and the like. It is also known as Elubo.

Asaro

Literally translated to mean ‘Yam Porridge,’ it is a Yoruba dish made from yam and blended peppers. It is also known as Ebe (eh-beh) and is similar to Ikokore.

Ayamashe/Ayemashe

This is a very spicy green Ijebu stew made from green bell peppers and green rodo/scotch bonnet peppers. Small pieces of goat meat and shaki/tripe are often fried and added to the stew. It is most often eaten with rice, although you could also eat it with Iyan.

Boli

This is a term for ripe Roasted Plantains, cooked over an open flame grill. It is most often a road side street snack and is often sold/served with groundnuts/peanuts.

Dodo

This is the Yoruba term for fried plantains.

Eba

This is a Yoruba term for Cassava that has been processed into a coarse powder form. The dried, grated form of Cassava is often known as Garri; once hot water is added to garri, it becomes known as Eba. Garri is either a yellow or an off-white color. The Yorubas often eat the off-white kind, while Igbos often eat the yellow version. Eba is often eaten as a side dish with popular Nigerian soups/stews such as Egusi, Efo Riro and the like.

Efo Riro

Translated, this, in Yoruba means vegetable stew. It’s a rich stew that is often a mix of goat meat, chicken, shaki/tripe, fish and also crab. It can also be made with just one type of meat, but the lure of this, is that it often contains an assortment of meats. The vegetable is most often spinach, but other types of green vegetables can used in place in spinach, such as collard greens.

Egusi

This can be translated to mean ‘melon seeds’ which have some fat and protein to them. Egusi or melon seeds are often pulverized or ground into a coarse powder and is often used to make Egusi soup.

Ewa Aganyin

Ewa is the Yoruba term for beans, while aganyin is a term attributed to a particular Yoruba way of cooking beans. In this method, the beans is cooked, mashed and served with a topping of fried stew.

Garri/Gari

This is a term for Cassava that has been processed into a grated and dried form. Garri is either a yellow or an off-white color. The Yorubas often eat the off-white kind, while Igbos eat the yellow version. Garri can also be mixed with cold water and eaten as a form of cereal with sugar, milk and groundnuts/peanuts.

Iyan

This, literally translated, means Pounded Yam. Traditionally, Iyan is made by cutting up a tuber of yam into slices/cubes, boiling it and then ‘pounding’ it in a mortar with a pestle. While pounding, the yam is added a few pieces at a time and hot water is often added to make the consistency similar to that of soft dough. It is quite a tedious process, but you can purchase the powdered form at most African grocery stores/markets. The powdered version is much easier to prepare as all you need do is add hot water and stir, occasionally adding hot water, till it forms a soft doughy consistency. It is eaten as a side dish with popular Nigerian soups/stews.

Ikokore/Ifokore

This is a Nigerian dish made from water yam (more commonly known as Puerto Rico Yam) which is then cooked in a mix of blended peppers. Its origins are among the Ijebus of the Southwestern part of Nigeria. In Nigeria, water yam has a season in September during which it’s more readily available.

Ila (Asepo)/Ila (Alasepo)

Ila is the Yoruba term for Okra. Ila Asepo is the term given to the Yoruba way of cooking this Nigerian dish. Typically, the okra is usually grated or chopped and added to beef or chicken stock and stirred till it begins to draw as okra is supposed to. In addition, onions are often omitted when making Ila as it prevents the okra from drawing.

Moi Moi/Moin Moin

Moi Moi (pronounced moy-moy) is yet another Nigerian dish that is typically made from beans, which is soaked, washed, blended with onions and peppers. Traditionally, not only is it blended, it is also steamed in leaves akin to banana leaves. This is truly the best way to cook moi moi, but it’s usually harder to come by the leaves. The leaves are called ‘Ewe’ in Yoruba and often lend shape and flavor to the moi moi.

Mosa

Mosa is a Nigerian snack made from very ripe plantains to which eggs and spices are added, after which it is then deep fried.

Ojojo

This is a Yoruba term given to a Nigerian snack made from water yam which has onions and spices added, after which is then deep fried.

Obe

This is the Yoruba term for meat, chicken or fish stews. For instance, Obe Eran (meat stew), Obe Eja (fish stew) and Obe Adie (chicken stew).

Puff Puff

Puff Puff  is a deep fried Nigerian snack made from flour, yeast, sugar, water. It is a soft, almost pillowy yet chewy snack. Puff Puff is not to be confused with ‘Buns,’ which is a richer Nigerian snack, due to the addition of eggs and milk.

Rodo

This is the Yoruba term for scotch bonnet pepper or habanero. They are small and usually orange/red/green in color.

Tatashe

This is the Yoruba term for red bell pepper.