Why Every Nigerian Party Needs Finger Food

Sometimes, the best things in life come in a small dish of yummy bite-sized foods popular to our beloved Nigerian cuisine! 

 The culture of serving finger foods at parties is not peculiar to Nigerians alone. All over the world, bite-sized goodies are often used as an appetizer and sometimes, a conversation filler, at gatherings formal or informal. In Nigeria, we are constantly recreating variants of this eating culture using local ingredients, and this brings to mind the legendary ‘Small chops.’ 

Small chops has evolved from being a snack idea to a Nigerian party staple of cultural necessity. In simpler terms, no Nigerian party is complete without small chops. Now, it would interest you to note that although it is most popular in Nigeria, small chops comprises an assortment of foods that originate from India and China.

What does a basic dish of small chops look like?

A regular platter contains:

  • Puff-puff
  • Samosa
  • Spring roll
  • Mosa
  • Chicken or turkey
  • Gizzard

Asides samosa (Indian) and spring rolls (Chinese), the other foods are popular Nigerian staples. This platter may include other choice foods like peppered snails and prawns, dependent on how much you love variety.

But, did you know that Small chops are not the only finger foods we serve at Nigerian parties?

Yes! There are several local dishes that work as finger foods, indigenous to several regions in Nigeria. This is the part where I introduce the culinary wonder that is nkwobi, and its equally savoury sibling, Isiewu. The major difference between nkwobi and isi ewu is that Isi ewu (literal english translation: goat head) is made using goat meat while Nkwobi is made with any kind of meat, typically Cow foot.  

Both are unbelievably sumptuous delicacies gifted us by the South-eastern region of Nigeria. Most people might complain about the deceptive-looking bowls used when serving these meals. A portion of Nkwobi or Isiewu always looks larger than it really is when served in the traditional mini mortar bowls. However, you must remember: We call them finger foods for a reason!  

Other delicious finger foods popular in Nigerian parties include peppered gizzard, peppered snails, plantain fritters, and suya (spicy grilled kebab).

As you would expect, I have documented some of these recipes in my cookbook available here. You can also visit the Bogobiri House to try more of our selected recipes from the Orisirisi kitchen.