The Secret To Great Cooking According To Nigerian Mums

May 24, 2019

We live in a time where a quick Google search will give you access to recipes from world-class chefs. Despite this, on the rare occasion, I find myself cooking, and on the rarer occasion, it’s not Indomie, my first port of call for guidance is my mum. Who’s always laden with (often unsolicited) tips and tricks to make a great meal, gotten from decades and decades of experience. And that’s the same case for many people I know. I asked ten people to tell me what secret tips and tricks their parents had given them for great cooking.

The secret to fire Jollof.

My mum always puts a sheet of foil over the pot when she’s cooking Jollof rice and that’s what makes it so bomb. The Jollof never gets soggy and it has this almost party Jollof taste.

The only way to make Fried rice.

When I left home and didn’t have constant access to my mum’s cooking I realized many people don’t know how to make fried rice. The secret to great fried rice is literally frying the rice after you’ve parboiled it. You can tell when people skip that step or don’t do it properly. The rice gets soggy and the spices don’t enter it well.

Never grate okro.

I used to think my mum just wanted to punish me when she made me cut okro with a knife instead of just grating it. But the difference between the two is quite clear. When you are cooking, the chopped one doesn’t soften as quickly as the grated one. So when it’s done it’s still a little hard, that’s what makes okro really nice.

Use only wooden spoons.

My mum only ever stirs her Jollof with a wooden spoon and everyone tells me that’s is just in my head but I can taste a difference. Or maybe I just think my mum makes the best Jollof in the world, which she does.

A dash of meat stock please.

Anytime my mum wants to blend tomato and pepper for stew or Efo, instead of blending it water she uses meat stock. It might seems like a waste of time since many people still add the meat stock when they are cooking but it’s quite genius.

Sweet potato Ukodo

I’m not sure this is a secret tip, it’s just different. Much to the horror of my mother’s in-laws, she prefers to make her ‘Ukodo’ with sweet potatoes. So she’s not from Delta but my dad is and he’s the one who introduced her to Ukodo. As far as he and his family are concerned it’s not Ukodo. But everyone else who has tried the one she makes prefers it to regular Ukodo.

Perfect Ogi no matter what

Anytime I make lumpy Ogi which is a lot, my mum will have me put it in the blender and blend it just a little bit to get rid of the lumps. Worked like a charm every single time. Well except the time she didn’t supervise me and I turned the Ogi, into an Ogi smoothie.

No more spills

My mum hates cooking even more than me so I have nothing for you there. But my grandma taught me that if you put a wooden spoon across the top of the pot when making stew it’ll never boil over. I’ve actually never tried it but I’ve met a couple of people who swear by it too.

P. S. No fathers could be found during the conduct of this survey.

You'll like this

January 27, 2020

2020 plis… In 2020, we’ve had an earthquake, a horrifying wildfire, the threat of a third World War, a plane crash, the loss of a legend and his prodigious daughter (RIP Kobe and Gigi) and now, we have to deal with the coronavirus. It’s only been the first month. What is a Coronavirus? Coronaviruses refer […]

Toketemu Ohwovoriole

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.


Now on Zikoko

June 4, 2020

Talk to any UNIBEN student about what it’s like studying at the university and chances are that you will hear stories about Ekosodin, Osasogie, and strongmen. The subjects for this week’s Aluta and Chill definitely have something to say about them, and they are not stories that warm the heart.  *Oliver — Got robbed I […]

June 4, 2020

If you ever wondered what Modern family would be if it was a Nigerian family, I wondered too. So I made it happen. First of all, Mitch and Cam would be tucked away somewhere safe in the abroad. Where Cam would be free to be as dramatic as he wants to be without his masculinity […]

Recommended Quizzes

October 10, 2019

2019 is certainly Burna Boy’s year, but, if we are being honest, so was 2018. Since his transcendent mixtape, Outside, the afro-fusion star has refused to get his foot of our necks — dropping a string of fantastic singles and then capping it all off with his career-best album, African Giant.  So, in a bid […]

November 25, 2019

Last week, we guessed how many people you’d slept with, and y’all were out here denying the truth. Anyway, we won’t hold that against you. This time, however, we’ve created a quiz that predicts who you’ll sleep with next — so you can either prepare or try (unsuccessfully) to prevent it. So, take and see:

how tall are you
March 11, 2020

Did your parents give you enough beans when you were growing up? If they did, then you’re probably around 6’0″ and above. Either way, we created a quiz that can guess your current height (pretty accurately, if we do say so ourselves). Take to see if we nailed it:

April 1, 2020

Everyone has a Nigerian bank that matches their personality. You could either be as likeable as GTB, as efficient as Access or as mature as First Bank. Either way, all you have to do is take this quiz and we’ll let you know with almost 100% certainty. So, go ahead:

More from General

May 29, 2020

You know, for people who have the hardest time permitting their children to attend sleepovers, inter-state excursions and any program not designed for the church or mosque, Nigerian parents are awfully trusting when their children decide an education abroad is what they want to spend a few years of their lives pursuing. And when it […]

April 24, 2020

The rise of new Nollywood has brought with it a host of exciting new stars like Adesua Etomi, Enyinna Nwigwe and many more. However, one star who never seems to get the due they deserve is the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge. Vey few Nollywood performers are as relentless and as hard-working as the bridge, who, without any […]

April 21, 2020

They say you can’t miss what you never had. (Un) Fortunately for us single pringles, while everyone is collectively worrying about issues like oil prices, practising safe social distancing and lockdown etiquette, we’re excused from worrying about another matter. One of the heart — being apart from your significant other while the coronavirus is contained. […]

April 1, 2020

Brymo — “Strippers + White Lines” Brymo, one of Nigeria’s most acclaimed singer-songwriters, just released his seventh studio album, Yellow, and “Strippers + White Lines” is its astounding lead single. On the Mikkyme Joses-produced track, Brymo sings about his struggles with depression, his unhealthy coping mechanisms and fighting to find the light amidst all the […]

March 27, 2020

Yoruba people are the kings of parties. Undisputed. They are the kind of people who will throw a party to celebrate the success of a previous party. And they ALWAYS go all out. Always. Aso ebi in place, excess food; most times, they even hire a live band. This list will show you a list […]


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.
February 6, 2020
Who doesn't want to find love? In our bid to help, we paired up a bunch of single Nigerians, sending them on an all-expense paid date, and interviewing them before and after they met.
January 27, 2020
Nigerians Talk is what happened when a motley crew of young Nigerians were put in front of a camera and asked a bunch of apparently random questions about life, love, money and more.
September 24, 2019
A group of Zikoko staff go on a road trip to every mainland country in ECOWAS West Africa
May 5, 2020
For the second season, we put an even more diverse motley crew of young Nigerians in front of a camera and asked them random questions about love, school experiences and more.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.