The country’s flag is not green, white, green for nothing. Agriculture is huge in Nigeria. 160million+ people do have to be fed. Vegetables are grown all over Nigeria, so much so that each region has vegetables, associated with it. because the land is so fertile, vegetables are not co-located per region. Also, what one specie of vegetable is called in one tribe is different from the next, such is the beauty of Nigerian languages and culture. I myself still get educated on Nigerian vegetables.
For now, you the newbie, need to be introduced to a handful of everyday Nigerian vegetables, and how they can be used. You will also get to know what substitutes you can use, based on where you live
This is a very bright green and soft vegetable. Its Western equivalent is spinach. Tete can be cooked by simply blanching in hot water, and served with red stew, or it can be sauteed in a rich red bell pepper based sauce to make Efo riro. Tete/green can also be used to bulk up dishes like okro to make it healthier or tossed into rice. The choice is yours.
Ugu is a dense, tough dark green vegetable that has a bold flavour. Because of its nature, it is mostly used as an accompanying vegetable for soups such as Egusi, Ogbono, Okro etc. It is not that enjoyable when eaten alone. It serves as a good balance though, when you are cooking with very soft vegetables such as water leaves, for dishes like Edikang Ikong. A good substitute for Ugu is Kale
I consider this vegetable the Princess of Nigerian vegetables. It is truly special. Uziza makes everything better. It is a hot, spicy, scented vegetable that transforms any dish. Its aroma is unmissable. A good substitute for Uziza, close but not quite though is curry leaf.
Also called scent leaf, because of its signature aroma. In Igbo, it is called Nchawu, in efik it is called otong. Efinrin, like uziza, introduces fragrance to any dish it is cooked with. Efinrin is popularly used in Pepper soups, but can also be used in Egusi soup and okro soup. The western equivalent for Efinrin is Basil.
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