Nigeria proudly boasts the largest Christian population in the entire African continent, as revealed by the Pew Research Poll. Approximately 49.3% of Nigerian population follows the Christian faith. The majority, accounting for 74%, affiliate themselves with the Protestant denomination, while 25% identify as Catholics. The remaining 1% are members of various minor Orthodox Christian communities. During Christmas, it is customary for both family members and neighbours to engage in the delightful practice of sharing different delectable treats. Nigerians are never short of abundant food and beverages, presenting an astonishing array of choices. When it comes to Nigerian Christmas feasts, their cultural influences are apparent, yet fried chicken remains an absolute necessity. To truly embody the essence of the festive season, any Nigerian dish must surpass expectations, adorned with exquisite garnishes and crafted with genuine affection.
One of Nigerians’ famous Christmas dish is stir-fried rice. Jollof rice, a gastronomic masterpiece, has secured a revered place amongst the most renowned dishes. Accompanied by (dodo) fried plantain, and delectable choices like fried chicken, steak, and coleslaw, it creates an irresistible culinary experience. The secret to crafting a remarkable jollof lies in skillfully blending parboiled, long-grained rice – boiled in its husk – with a harmonious medley of onions, tomatoes, and chilies. Elevating the dish to perfection, a sprinkle of salt, bouillon, thyme, and curry seals the flavours together. The true essence of a splendid jollof rice rests in its meticulously balanced seasoning. Another popular dish during the festive period is white rice and stew as it becomes an essential part of Nigerian meals. Tomato stew, vegetable stew, and veggie chicken sauce are among the well-loved options when it comes to Christmas stew recipes in Nigeria.
Pounded yam and efo riro for Christmas lunch.
Fried rice, a culinary sibling of the famous Nigerian jollof rice, emerges as a simple yet delightful culinary creation for Christmas and other festivities. Bursting with flavours, this dish embraces the vibrant combination of carrots, peas, succulent beef liver, and a touch of oil to lend it a delectable crispiness. During the Christmas season, many people opt for the beef liver due to its exquisite taste. Its rich and delicate flavour has made it incredibly popular. Nigerian pepper soup, a zesty concoction, is a favoured delight savoured in various settings such as households, dining establishments, and convivial gatherings. A delicious starter, this tantalizing potion commences the Christmas feast, imparting a comforting sensation to the stomach as one prepares to relish the subsequent courses. The blend encompasses calabash nutmeg, African pepper, cloves, alongside an assortment of other spices. To suit individual taste, one may include catfish, goat, and chicken.
Turkey is a prime selection among suitable entrées for nearly all celebratory gatherings, encompassing not only Christmas but also Thanksgiving! A delightful and exquisite culinary masterpiece can be achieved by combining succulent slices of roasted turkey with a blend of garlic, suya spices, and fragrant winter herbs. This dish is irresistibly crunchy, flavourful, and remarkably convenient to create. The festive season finds its rhythm elevated with the inclusion of the culinary masterpiece of pounded yam and efo riro for Christmas lunch, renowned as a captivating feast that never fails to impress. Also, Originating from the Western Region of Nigeria, specifically Abeokuta, efo riro stands as a quintessential traditional vegetable soup. Pairing immaculately with various staples like white rice, yams, plantains, and an array of other dishes, this enriching delicacy truly elevates the celebration of Christmas.
Ofada rice and Ofada stew as prominent festive dish.
Ukwa, also known as African breadfruit, is an esteemed delicacy that has emerged from the rich Igbo gastronomic heritage. Its popularity greatly surges during the festive season, particularly in the eastern regions of Nigeria. Ukwa can be boiled or roasted, or simply consumed in its raw form with palm kernel nuts. Ayamase or designer stew, which is often known as Ofada Stew, is a delectable dish that is prepared using palm oil, fermented locust beans, and bell peppers. Enjoyed during the festive season, it makes for an enticing Christmas feast. Ofada rice, a type of rice grown in different parts of Nigeria, offers a delightful taste. Due to the preservation of some rice bran on the grain, its flavour is more intense compared to ordinary rice. When paired with Ofada stew, the combination becomes a comforting experience with its rich and invigorating flavour that will leave one craving for more.
Tuwo shinkafa, a cherished delicacy in northern Nigeria, holds a place of honour during significant events and celebrations. Yet, this culinary treasure has traversed cultural boundaries, earning a widespread and adoring fanbase. Rice forms the base of tuwo shinkafa, a dish that harmoniously pairs with diverse soups, with the most popular being bean soup. In Northern Nigeria, tuwo is considered an essential element of a flawless Christmas celebration. Abacha, also known as African salad, is a well-adorned feast from the East and is an essential component of Christmas. Abacha, a delectable appetizer made with grated cassava, is the star of the show. Nevertheless, it is equally delightful and nutritious when presented as a main course.
Palm wine, a drink rich in celebratory essence.
Drinks play a vital role in adding delight to every celebration. One popular beverage among Nigerians is known as Chapman, a delightful cocktail that originated from the esteemed Ikoyi Club situated in Lagos, Nigeria. Preparing this beverage is a breeze and incredibly revitalizing. Combine cucumber, lime, and lemon slices with blackcurrants and a mixture of two carbonated drinks. After blending and cooling, it becomes the perfect drink for the holiday season. Palm wine, a drink rich in celebratory essence and cherished for its nostalgic flavour, can be quite intoxicating if consumed excessively. Nevertheless, it is a customary practice for the Igbos and Yorubas to indulge in this beverage. Palm wine, crafted from the sap of palm trees, is truly exceptional. Served fresh, it’s an irresistible delight that one will be compelled to recreate repeatedly during the festive Christmas season due to its exquisite taste and invigorating nature!