Nigerian Food and Recipes

Nigerians and our swallow

September 09, 2017

One thing you cannot take away from a Nigerian man and some Nigerian women is ‘swallow’. Swallow is to Nigerians as baguette is to the French or spaghetti to the Italians. They are made from different food items like cassava, yam, rice, plantain or wheat. Whichever one you prefer, swallows are just eaten by rolling the swallow into a ball, dipping it into a soup and basically swallowing it. Yam for example is so important as a food that there is a celebration called ‘New Yam Festival’ in some areas in Nigeria

Some are eaten in some particular parts of the country while some are generally eaten by every tribe. Like Starch, is eaten by people from Edo and Delta regions of the country. It is made from cassava and the orange colour is derived from the palm oil used to tint the puree while stirring it on heat. It is popularly eaten with the native Banga soup

Pounded yam is eaten by every ethnic group in the country. It is yam that has been boiled and then pounded as the name implies. It is enjoyed with almost any soup and thankfully with the invention of the yam pounder, making pounded yam has become easier for many people. There is also the option of mixing yam flour with water and stirring it on heat but there nothing as original as pounding boiled yam in a mortar – the taste and overall experience is rewarding

Amala is eaten by the people from the western part of the country but it is fast becoming one the favourites in many 'mama put' joints in the country. It is made from either yam or plantain.

‘Fufu’ or ‘Akpu’ is another swallow enjoyed by many especially in the south south  and eastern parts of the country. It is made from cassava that has been left to ferment and then made into a paste and cooked. It is similar to starch but palm oil is not added to it

Pounded Plantain is a healthy option for many people conscious of their diet. It is made by boiling unripe plantain and pounding it into a swallow-like consistency


Tuwo is popular in the north and is made from either rice or maize.

Garri is one of the most popular swallow. It is made from cassava that has been peeled, ground, dried, sieved and fried. It can be white or yellow (when tinted with little palm oil). It is recommended that garri should be properly prepared as there are concerns over the percentage of cyanide present in cassava

Semolina is also eaten by many Nigerians and is made from wheat or other grains.It is usually recommended for children in the place of garri because of the cyanide present in cassava

These days, there are some other healthy options like wheat or blended oats.

Some people believe it's all they need to do any physically demanding work, some others complain that they practically shut down once they swallow any of these.Whichever one you may choose to eat, swallows are a deep part of our culture, they are here to stay and will be for a very long time. 

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more