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Ethiopian Food Vs. Nigerian Food: Do Different Geographic Locations Affect Cuisines?

Ethiopian and Nigerian food are both delicious, but they are vastly different.

Located in two different parts of the African continent, how do the cuisines from these two cuisines differ from each other? Do they share any similarities as well? The answers to these questions can be found in this article.

Let’s read on!

What is special about Ethiopian food?

THE ULTIMATE ETHIOPIAN COOKBOOK FOR BEGINNERS
  • SCOTT PhD., ERIC (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 83 Pages - 01/20/2021 (Publication Date) - Independently...

Ethiopian food is one of the oldest and richest cuisines in Africa.

It has been influenced by different cultures, such as Indian, Arabic, and African cuisine.

All result in a unique and flavorful cuisine that features lentils, potatoes, and stews from red meat served with injera bread.

Some of the most popular dishes in Ethiopia include doro wat, kitfo, gomen be siga wot, tikil galet fasolia or ful medames.

When eating Ethiopian food, it’s customary to share a meal with others at the table by using pieces of injera bread to scoop up portions from communal plates situated on low tables called meza.

These customs may seem strange but they create a sense of community among those who partake in this tradition.

Ethiopian food is also relatively spicy due to its use of various spices, such as cumin, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, or timin (a kind of Indian chili).

People also enjoy drinking tea and coffee after having their hearty meals.

What is special about Nigerian food?

Nigerian Cookbook: Traditional Nigerian Recipes Made Easy
  • Publishing, Grizzly (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 03/02/2019 (Publication Date) - Independently...

The food of Nigeria is one of the most diverse in the world.

With over 300 ethnic groups and a population exceeding 160 million, Nigerian cuisine ranges from spicy pepper soup to fried plantains with okra.

These recipes are all made using locally grown ingredients including cassava, yams, cocoyam, and maize.

They tend to eat more bushmeat, beef, and chicken that are skewered and roasted.

Nigerian cuisine also varies from region to region.

For example, rice and peas with meat are staples in Northern Nigeria, while in coastal areas, they also eat crayfish, sardines, bonga, mackerel, or catfish.

Like most other African cuisines, Nigerians also enjoy stews and soups.

They often use different spices such as curry powder and turmeric to give their dishes a yellow and reddish color and unique flavor profile.

What are the differences between Ethiopian food and Nigerian food?

Ethiopian food and Nigerian food have many differences, from their taste to their ingredients.

Check out the following differences to know how these two African cuisines differ from each other: 

Nigerian food is often spicier than Ethiopian food

Nigerians usually use hot spices like curry, ginger, nutmeg, thyme, Habanero pepper, and Scotch Bonnet pepper.

Therefore, their food is spicier than Ethiopian food, which is also quite spicy.

Nigerian cuisine includes seafood whereas Ethiopian cuisine does not

This difference is due to the geographic location of each country.

Nigeria has access to seafood because they have coastlines in the south of the country.

Different kinds of fish are used in Nigerian cooking, especially in coastal areas.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia is a landlocked country and their main protein is typically red meat.

Nigerians eat more rice, while Ethiopians eat more injera bread

Rice is a staple in Nigerian cuisine.

Rice is usually served with pepper stew and sauce recipes.

Banga rice is one of the most popular rice dishes in this West African country, featuring palm nuts and rice.

On the other hand, injera bread is traditionally consumed throughout Ethiopia and some surrounding countries.

Injera is made from teff flour which is gluten-free, so it is perfect for those who are looking for a gluten-free diet.

Nigerian food is often served in an individual serving size in a plate or bowl, while Ethiopian food is served on a platter

Ethiopian food is served family-style on a platter, not in individual servings.

Pasta dishes are often eaten with the hands and bread called injera can be used to scoop up sauces from the communal plate of meat or vegetables stewed together for flavor.

Meanwhile, Nigerian food is served in an individual serving size, on a plate.

A bowl or plate can contain different kinds of dishes, including grains, meat, and vegetables, just like an American serving.

What are the similarities between Ethiopian food and Nigerian food?

Despite the aforementioned differences, Ethiopian food and Nigerian food also have a lot in common:

Both cuisines focus on using fresh ingredients

The first similarity between Nigerian food and Ethiopian food is their use of fresh ingredients only.

They are less likely to use canned food or processed food like in American cuisine.

They make use of seasonal and fresh ingredients that can be found in local markets rather than shopping in the supermarket or grocery store.

Their dishes are flavorful with the use of various spices

Another similarity between Ethiopian food and Nigerian food is that their food is very flavorful thanks to the use of different aromatic spices in every dish.

Typically, dried or ground spices are used to season these African dishes, such as cinnamon, curry powder, chili pepper, paprika, or nutmeg.

Stew dishes are popular in both Nigeria and Ethiopia

Stews are favored by both Nigerians and Ethiopians.

From meat to vegetables or seafood, all are slow-cooked until tender or even achieve the paste form.

Stews are served with rice in Nigeria, and injera bread in Ethiopia.

Which one is better?

THE ULTIMATE ETHIOPIAN COOKBOOK FOR BEGINNERSNigerian Cookbook: Traditional Nigerian Recipes Made Easy
THE ULTIMATE ETHIOPIAN COOKBOOK FOR BEGINNERSNigerian Cookbook: Traditional Nigerian Recipes Made Easy
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No matter where in the world you are from, both Ethiopian and Nigerian dishes are worth trying.

It might be difficult to choose which cuisine you prefer because of how different they taste when compared side by side.

However, with some research and exploration into each country’s history for culinary inspiration, we are sure you will find something new to love.

Or, much simpler, give both a try and you will know what your taste buds prefer.

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