13 Amazing Dishes in Northern Nigeria

Amarachi Okike
Amarachi Okike
My name is Amarachi Okike, a content writer and lover of the African culture especially its traditional dishes.

The Northern region of Nigeria is excellent for its traditions, tourist centers, food, and culture. So if you ever find yourself in any of the Northern states in Nigeria, make sure you try out some of their local dishes.

Speaking of states in the Northern part of Nigeria. Here are a few states;

  • Sokoto
  • Bauchi
  • Katsina
  • Borno
  • Taraba
  • Kano
  • Kaduna
  • Kebbi
  • Adamawa
  • Zamfara

Now that you are familiar with the states in the Northern regions of Nigeria, are you ready to get to know their food?

If we were to discuss the amazing traditions in the Northern region of Nigeria, there would be so much, so we have decided to help you with these special dishes found in the Northern parts of Nigeria.

Keep in mind that the recipes of some of these dishes found in the Northern parts of Nigeria would vary across states in the region, but who is to say you cannot get a recipe that’s good enough for you, and you just create your magic.

13 Popular Dishes in Northern Nigeria

Tuwo Shinkafa

interesting facts about rice

This is the first dish on this list because you cannot make a list of foods found in the Northern parts of Nigeria without Tuwo Shinkafa. This is arguably one of the most popular staples in the Northern parts of Nigeria, amongst other dishes, it can also be referred to as “Rice Tuwo”.

Tuwo Shinkafa is a rice dish, that involves the boiling of white rice till it’s soft and sticky, then rolling the boiled rice into balls. The Rice balls are then served as a swallow and can be enjoyed with any soup of your choice.

A good reason why this would be the most popular is because it is very easy and fast to prepare. Who wouldn’t like a dish that is delicious, healthy, simple and quick to make? Everyone would love that, without a doubt.

Another interesting fact about Tuwo shinkafa (Rice Tuwo) is that you can enjoy it with any soup of your choice.

The Ingredients for Tuwo Shinkafa

To get you started on a few ingredients you would need for your recipe for Tuwo shinkafa at home, here are a few ingredients to get you started;

Now, you have a killer recipe, you have the ingredients, what’s stopping you from trying this delicious dish that can be found in the Northern parts of Nigeria?

Tuwon Dawa

Tuwo 2

Tuwon Dawa is also a very popular dish that is very common amongst the people of the Northern regions of Nigeria, not just for its taste, but also for the great health benefits of this delicious dish.

Tuwo Dawa is a dish that is traditionally made from potash and grounded guinea corn, the end product of this is the amazing Tuwon Dawa.

The Ingredients for Tuwon Dawa

To get started on this dish, you would need to know some major ingredients that would be needed for the preparation of Tuwon Dawa, so here’s a list;

  • Grounded Guinea corn (Also known as sorghum)
  • Potash
  • Water

This dish is very easy and quick to prepare, so get started on your preparation of this amazing dish found in the Northern parts of Nigeria. Here’s how to make it.

Miyan Kuka

Miyan Kuka (Baobab Leaves Soup)
Miyan Kuka (Baobab Leaves Soup)

You have read about Tuwo Shinkafa, and you should know that there are a few soups you can enjoy Tuwo Shinkafa with. Miyan Kuka is one of the soups you can enjoy Tuwo shinkafa with.

Miyan Kuka is a soup that is made from baobab leaves and some other special spices that add a local and special flavor to the dish, an example of the spice that is usually added to Miyan Kuka is “Yaji”.

This soup is also one of the most popular dishes found in the Northern parts of Nigeria because it is commonly paired with Tuwo shinkafa which is already the most popular staple in these Northern regions.

This soup is what you can describe as “draw soup”, mostly because… Well, when you give this dish a try, you will know why it is called “draw soup”.

What is YAJI?

yaji scaled
Image from: Safeyyas kitchen

This is a special spice that is commonly used to season the popular street food in Nigeria, called “Suya”. Some might also refer to Yaji as “Suya pepper”.

Yaji plays some interesting roles in food preparation, it is not restricted to just Suya, you can use Yaji for many other purposes;

  • Use Yaji to marinate your grilled meat skewers
  • Use Yaji to prepare Miyan Kuka
  • Add Yaji as a seasoning for your food
  • Give your chicken an extraordinary flavor by using Yaji to garnish it. Enjoy your new hot and tasty spice for your chicken.

The Ingredients for Miyan Kuka


Are you looking for more rice dishes? Here’s another one for you. Pate is a soup that’s commonly eaten in the Northern regions of Nigeria. This dish is very popular in places like Nassarawa, Kaduna, Plateau, and other Northern states.

Major ingredients for the preparation of this soup are grounded corn or rice and it can be considered to be porridge.

There are a lot of health benefits that can be gotten from this soup alone, and this is all thanks to the good amount of vegetables that are used to prepare this dish.

The Ingredients for Pate

In case you don’t know the ingredients that make up this healthy cuisine, here are a few ingredients that are used for the preparation of Pate;

  • Locust beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Vegetables
  • Fresh Pepper
  • Dry pepper
  • Minced meat
  • Brisket bones
  • Groundnut
  • Assorted meat
  • Seasoning
  • Water
  • Garden egg

Now that you know the ingredients, you are already intrigued, you cannot wait to try this dish, what are you waiting for? Get to your kitchen and get cooking.


Food found in the Northern parts of Nigeria

Danwake is a dish that mainly consists of a couple of veggies to give you rich nutrients. Danwake is often eaten as “Danwake da mai da yaji” which translates to “Danwake with pepper and oil” in the Hausa language.

The Ingredients for Danwake

Here is a list of ingredients you would need to get started with your Danwake recipe;

  • Danwake flour
  • Water
  • Onions
  • Salt
  • Medium lemon
  • Seasoning
  • Tomatoes
  • Egg
  • Bell pepper
  • Red pepper
  • Vegetable oil. How to make Danwake.

Tuwo Masara

Dishes in Northern Nigeria

Tuwo Masara is a popular staple food in Northern Nigeria, particularly among the Hausa people. It is a type of thick, dense porridge made from cornmeal or maize flour. Tuwo Masara is often served alongside delicious soups or stews, making it a filling and satisfying meal.

This dish is known for its unique texture, which is achieved by vigorously stirring the cornmeal with a special wooden stick called a “mudu” until it forms a thick, elastic dough-like consistency. The process of making Tuwo Masara requires some skill and effort, but the result is well worth it.

Tuwo Masara has a mild, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with various accompaniments, such as miyan kuka (baobab soup), miyan kubewa (dried okra soup), or miyan taushe (pumpkin soup). It is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Ingredients for Tuwo Masara:

Kiyaru Batonu

 A crispy, fried dough ball that is often enjoyed as a snack or a light meal. The name “Kiyaru Batonu” literally translates to “Batonu’s doughnuts” in the Hausa language.

These small, round doughnuts are made by deep-frying a dough mixture of wheat flour, water, and occasionally spices like cloves or ginger. The result is a golden-brown, crunchy exterior with a soft and fluffy interior.

Kiyaru Batonu is often served warm and can be enjoyed on its own or accompanied by a hot beverage, such as tea or kunun aya (a locally made beverage from tiger nuts).

Ingredients for Kiyaru Batonu:

  • Wheat flour
  • Water
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Cloves or ginger (optional)
  • Vegetable oil for frying


Alkubus Recipe
Image from Cookpad

A savory pastry made with a combination of wheat flour, butter or vegetable oil, and spices like cloves, ginger, and cayenne pepper.

The dough for Alkubus is rolled out into thin sheets and then cut into small, diamond-shaped pieces. These pieces are then deep-fried until they puff up and become crispy and golden brown. The result is a flaky, crunchy pastry with a delightful aroma from the spices.

Alkubus is often served as a snack or appetizer and can be enjoyed on its own or accompanied by a hot beverage, such as tea or kunun aya (a locally made beverage from tiger nuts).

Ingredients for Alkubus:

  • Wheat flour
  • Butter or vegetable oil
  • Cloves
  • Ginger
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Vegetable oil for frying How to make Alkubus.
Hausa masa
Hausa masa

Masa is a traditional fermented rice cake that is popular in Northern Nigeria, particularly among the Hausa people. It is a steamed or baked cake made from a batter of fermented rice flour, spices like ginger and cloves, and sometimes coconut milk or palm oil.

The fermentation process gives Masa a unique, slightly sour flavor and a dense, chewy texture. It is often served as a snack or a light meal and can be enjoyed on its own or with a variety of accompaniments, such as miyan taushe (pumpkin soup), miyan kubewa (dried okra soup), or kunun aya.

Ingredients for Masa:

  • Fermented rice flour
  • Water
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • Coconut milk or palm oil (optional)
  • Salt (to taste) How to make masa

Fura Da Nono (Yoghurt with Millet)

Fura Da Nono
Image Credit: Facebook

Fura da Nono is a popular and refreshing drink. It is a combination of two distinct elements: fura, a thick, fermented millet pudding, and nono, a locally made yogurt drink.

The fura component is prepared by cooking millet flour with water until it forms a thick, porridge-like consistency. This porridge is then allowed to ferment overnight, resulting in a slightly tangy and slightly sweet flavor.

Nono, on the other hand, is made by fermenting cow’s milk or milk from other domesticated animals. The fermentation process gives nono a distinctive sour taste and a creamy, yogurt-like texture.

To enjoy Fura da Nono, the fermented millet pudding (fura) is mixed with the yogurt drink (nono), creating a unique and refreshing beverage. It is often served chilled and can be enjoyed as a breakfast meal, a snack, or a thirst-quencher, especially during the hot and dry seasons.

Ingredients for Fura da Nono:

For Fura:

  • Millet flour
  • Water
  • Fermentation starter (optional)

For Nono:

  • Fresh milk (cow’s milk or other domesticated animal milk)
  • Fermentation starter (optional)


kilishi scaled

Kilishi is a popular and beloved dried meat snack. It is made by cutting meat, typically beef or lamb, into thin strips and then seasoning it with a blend of spices and herbs before drying it in the sun or over a fire.

The seasoning mixture used for Kilishi typically includes ingredients like ginger, garlic, chili yaji, cloves, and other aromatic spices. The meat strips are coated with this spice blend, ensuring that every bite is infused with a burst of flavor.

The drying process is a crucial step in the making of Kilishi, as it helps to preserve the meat and concentrate the flavors. The dried meat strips are then often further smoked to enhance their shelf life and add depth of flavor.

Ingredients for Kilishi:

  • Beef or lamb (or other meat of choice)
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Chili peppers
  • Cloves
  • Other spices and herbs (e.g., cumin, coriander, black pepper)
  • Salt (to taste)

Kuli Kuli

kuli kuli

Kuli Kuli, also known as Kuli Kuli Groundnut or Kuli Kuli Peanut. It is made from peanuts or groundnuts that have been roasted, crushed, and then molded into small, bite-sized balls or cakes.

The process of making Kuli Kuli involves carefully roasting the peanuts until they develop a rich, nutty aroma and flavor. The roasted peanuts are then crushed or ground into a coarse powder, sometimes mixed with a small amount of salt for added flavor.

The crushed peanut mixture is then shaped into small balls or patties by hand, often using a binding agent like honey or sugar syrup to help the mixture hold its shape. These peanut balls or cakes are then left to dry and harden, resulting in a crunchy and satisfying snack.

Kuli Kuli is not only delicious but also highly nutritious, as peanuts are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and various vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients for Kuli Kuli:

  • Roasted peanuts or groundnuts
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Honey or sugar syrup (optional, for binding)

Every dish has its different taste and who wouldn’t love to have a try of all the flavors you can?

Reasons You Should Try These Delicious Dishes Found in The Northern Parts of Nigeria

Think of this section of this article as the benefits of exploring the world of African food. You are going to see reasons why it is important you give these dishes a try, not just these delicious dishes found in the Northern parts of Nigeria, but also food across several African countries like,

  • It expands your knowledge of the different types of food in the world.
  • It is a really fun and exciting experience, who doesn’t like new experiences?
  • Trying out new dishes, especially those dishes found in the Northern parts of Nigeria, you are sure to get a kind of insight into the life they live, and the kind of food they eat.
  • Nourish your body with healthy food that will help boost your body system.
  • It would help improve your cooking skills.
  • Gives you some sort of range in your food menu.
  • Try something new! One of the best decisions you would make is the decision to try new dishes in your kitchen. No one is expecting you to be perfect, that is why we have recipes here to guide you through every step of your food preparation.


Did you enjoy this list? Did any of these dishes interest you? What dish would you love to try from this list of delicious dishes found in the Northern parts of Nigeria? If you have had any of these dishes before, let us know how it was.

Be sure to try these dishes, or maybe just one, and let us know what you think, and how it tasted.

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Amarachi Okike
Amarachi Okike
My name is Amarachi Okike, a content writer and lover of the African culture especially its traditional dishes.

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