If you’re a foodie or a lover of spices, you might be wondering what black pepper is called in Nigeria.
Well, wonder no more!
In this article, we’ll explore the different names and varieties of pepper commonly used in Nigerian cuisine.
From the well-known black pepper to the lesser-known uziza seed and Cameroon pepper, we’ll take a closer look at their unique flavors and health benefits.
So, sit back, relax, and get ready to spice up your knowledge about Nigerian cuisine!
What Is Black Pepper Called In Nigeria?
Black pepper, also known as black peppercorns, is a popular spice used in many cuisines around the world. In Nigeria, black pepper is commonly referred to as West African Black Pepper or Ashanti pepper. It is also known as Uziza in Igbo and Ata iyere in Yoruba.
Black pepper is a well-researched dried fruit of the flowering piper vine. It is well known for the piperine it contains which is responsible for that pungent taste it has. Piperine has been strongly associated with reduced inflammation and oxidative stress and its many benefits in the fight against diseases such as cancers have been studied.
Introduction: Why Knowing The Names Of Nigerian Peppers Is Important
Knowing the names of Nigerian peppers is important for several reasons. Firstly, it helps in identifying and choosing the right pepper for a particular recipe. Nigerian cuisine is known for its diverse use of peppers, and each type of pepper has a unique flavor and heat level that can greatly enhance the taste of a dish.
Secondly, understanding the different types of Nigerian peppers can also help in understanding their nutritional benefits. For example, the small pettie belle chilies, which are used in designer stew or Ayamashe, are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Similarly, Cameroon pepper, also known as Nsukka pepper, is a dried form of habanero or yellow scotch bonnet that is packed with capsaicin, a compound that has been linked to numerous health benefits.
Lastly, knowing the names of Nigerian peppers can also help in communicating with locals and building cultural connections. Peppers have played an important role in Nigerian cuisine for centuries, and understanding their significance can help in appreciating and respecting the country’s culinary traditions.
Black Pepper: The Most Commonly Used Pepper In Nigeria
Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices in Nigeria. It is used in a variety of dishes, ranging from soups to stews and sauces. The spice is highly valued for its unique flavor and aroma, which can add depth and complexity to any dish.
In Nigeria, black pepper is readily available in most markets and grocery stores. It is often sold in its whole form or as ground pepper. The spice is also used in combination with other spices such as Uziza seeds and Ata iyere to create complex and flavorful blends.
Apart from its culinary uses, black pepper is also known for its medicinal properties. It contains high levels of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. These properties make it a useful spice for promoting overall health and wellness.
Uziza Seed: A Unique And Flavorful Pepper
Uziza seed is a pungent spice that is native to West Africa, particularly Nigeria. It is also known as Piper guineense, Iyere in Yoruba, and has peak value of pungency with a strong and distinct flavor. This spice is used to make a variety of traditional cuisines in West Africa and gives meals a unique scent and flavor.
Unlike regular black pepper, Uziza seed has a milder aroma due to its lower piperine content. Instead, it contains higher levels of volatile oils, particularly linalool, which is responsible for its pleasant floral aroma. This aroma is absent in regular black pepper, which has a spicy and woody aroma.
In terms of their chemical composition, regular black pepper and Uziza seeds have similar components but vary in the amount of each component. This difference sets them apart in taste and possibly in their activity in the body.
Uziza seeds are beneficial to health as they contain antioxidants and elements that have the ability to protect the body. They can also be used as a substitute for black pepper in cooking. However, it is important to note that piperine is easily lost when subjected to heat and pressure cooking causing the greatest loss.
Cameroon Pepper: A Hot And Spicy Addition To Nigerian Dishes
Cameroon Pepper, also known as Yellow Pepper or Black Pepper, is a fiery and aromatic form of chili pepper that originates from Cameroon. It is made from dried Scotch Bonnet Peppers and is highly desired for its characteristic aroma and flavor. This pepper adds a distinctive “Nigerian taste” to dishes and is commonly used in Nigerian cuisine. However, it should be used with caution as it is highly aromatic and very hot.
The “Cameroon” part of its name refers to the drying process, which involves drying the peppers in the sun until they turn yellow. This process gives the pepper its unique flavor and aroma. Cameroon Pepper belongs to the same family as black peppercorn and has a hot taste with a fragrant aroma and flavor. It is sold whole and can be added to soups, stews, meat, and chicken dishes for a fiery hot spicy taste.
Cameroon Pepper is not only used for its flavor but also for its health benefits. It contains capsaicin, which has been linked to various health benefits such as pain relief, improved digestion, and reduced inflammation. Additionally, it is rich in vitamins A and C, which are essential for maintaining good health.
Other Peppers Used In Nigerian Cuisine
Apart from black pepper, there are many other types of peppers used in Nigerian cuisine. One of the most popular is piri piri, which is used to make the dry pepper that Nigerians grind. Piri piri has a heat rating of 50,000-175,000 units, making it a very spicy pepper.
Another popular pepper used in Nigerian cuisine is the small pettie belle chili pepper. These are the smallest habanero peppers and are prized for use in “Designer” stew or Ayamashe. This green stew is made from a range of green peppers including scotch bonnets, habaneros, tatashe, pettie belle or bell peppers cooked down with onions, fermented seeds and other seasoning. The meats used in this dish are a variety of beef, offal and sometimes dried fish.
There is also the Cameroon pepper, which is an indigenous pepper that is both aromatic and spicy. It is usually dried and ground before being added to meals. This pepper is pretty strong and should be used moderately.
Lastly, there is the Nigerian Pepper which is a strong powder made from ground peppercorns. It is used in Nigerian pepper soup spices and to improve the taste of other foods as a seasoning. Due to the different types of Nigerian peppers available globally, each pepper may have its peculiar nutrients and benefits. However, in general terms, all varieties of pepper have folic acid, fiber, potassium, phytochemicals, vitamins A and C.
Health Benefits Of Nigerian Peppers
Nigerian peppers, including black pepper, have several health benefits that may surprise you. Despite being commonly used as a seasoning in Nigerian cuisine, peppers are loaded with vitamins and minerals and have low calories too. Here are some of the health benefits of Nigerian peppers:
1. Improves Male Fertility: Black pepper is very effective in improving male fertility. It contains two formidable minerals – zinc and magnesium, which play an important role in improving male sex hormones. Black pepper also helps in the formation, concentration, and movement of sperms.
2. Rich in Antioxidants: Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage your cells and lead to major health problems. Black pepper is rich in a plant compound called piperine, which has potent antioxidant properties. Studies suggest that a diet high in antioxidants may help prevent or delay the damaging effects of free radicals.
3. Medicinal Properties: African black pepper is highly medicinal and contains a wide range of phytochemical compounds, including essential oils, alkaloids, lignans, flavonoids, polyphenols, saponins, tannins, terpenes and resins. African black pepper also contains calcium, vitamins A, C, and E and traces of vitamin B1, B2, and B3.
4. Reduces Cancer Risk: The capsaicin in pepper flesh has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is being studied as a cancer fighter. It reduces the growth of prostate cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. Research also shows consumption of large quantities of peppers effective against breast, pancreatic, and bladder cancers.
5. Weight Management: Nigerian peppers are an excellent source of capsaicin which researchers have revealed to be capable of reducing excess body fat build-up. So, if you want to shed your excess fat, don’t forget to include a reasonable amount of Nigerian peppers in your diet.