Peppers: Nigerian Names vs Other Names

The Fresh Peppers of Nigeria

If you are a Nigerian living in the diaspora, the chances of you looking for familiar meals or ingredients are very high. However, while you may not find the exact item in search for, you might be able to find other species grown in your new location.

Peppers happen to be one of the popular items searched for and which are present almost anywhere you go. So here’s a guide to identifying the peppers that may have other names in your new country.

Scotch bonnets & Habaneros

Other names:

  • Atarodo (Yoruba)
  • Ose Oyibo (Igbo)
  • Atarugu (Hausa)

Red

These are the most common peppers sold and used daily across Nigeria in food prep. It’s quite often the one that goes into a pot of stew, soup, sauce and everything in between.

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  • Uses: fresh. For general food preparation – stews, soups, rice dishes, beans etc
  • Availability: all year round

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Green

In this bucket, there are many green peppers from the small pettie belle chilies which are the smallest habanero peppers, to the larger thin and thick skinned ones.

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Ata rodo/ Habaneros

In Nigeria, they are prized for use in ‘Designer’ stew or Ayamashe. This is a green stew made from a range of green peppers – scotch bonnets, habaneros, tatashe, pettie belle or bell peppers cooked down with onions, fermented seeds and other seasoning. The meats – a variety of beef, offal and sometimes dried fish lend the name designer stew to this aromatic dish.

The origin of the world famous Ayamashe stew

  • Botanical info: specie C. chinense
  • Uses: fresh. special food preparation – ofada sauce, designer stew, ayamashe: In Ghana, the small ones – pettie belle are the base of kpakpo shito, a green sauce
  • Availability: seen in Lagos in July, November

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Also known as pettie belle in Ghana

Yellow

Also known as Ose Nsukka or Cameroun (A neighbouring country where they are also very popular) peppers. These are incredibly aromatic with a hot and ‘sweet’ flavour, and prized in Nigeria.

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  • Uses: fresh & dried. For general food preparation. Great in okro soup, in (seafood) stews
  • Availability: Seasonal as well, commonly found in the rainy season from April through June to September with a reduced appearance in August which often sees the rain take a break.

Bell Peppers

These are the largest and mildest peppers that feature in Nigerian cuisine

  • Uses: fresh. For general food preparation – rice, salads, stews and sauces
  • Availability: all year round

Green

These are the major generals that define Nigerian fried rice, and salads. decades, it was the the only bell pepper available in Nigeria.

It is also used in making ofada sauce as the main pepper or in combination with green tatashe.

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Red

These have become popular and available in the last few years. Prior to that, they were imported.

They are often used in rice dishes, salads, sometimes replacing red tatashe in stews and sauces.

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Yellow

These have recently become available. They are used in rice dishes, salads and the like.

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Tatashe

Red

Similar to paprika peppers but hot and related to bell peppers. Their shapes range from bell pepper like, to more elongate, poblano peppers. They do have capsaicin and a lot of colour in their skin

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Red Tatashe

  • Uses: fresh & dried. For general food preparation – stews, soups, rice dishes, beans etc
  • Availability: all year round, though in June/ July, there is some scarcity which results in smaller fruit.

Green

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Green Tatashe

  • Uses: fresh. Ofada/ Ayamashe/ Designer stew
  • Availability: Limited. I saw this in July. As you can imagine, they ripen and turn red, which is more common and thus makes its way to the moarket more often

Cayenne Pepper

Other name:

Sombo (Yoruba)

  • Botanical info: specie Capsicum annuum var. fasciculatum
  • Uses: fresh & dried. For general food preparation – stews, soups, rice dishes, beans etc
  • Availability: all year round

Red

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Green

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Bird’s Eye Chili

Other names:

Atawere (Yoruba)

  • Uses: fresh & dried. For general food preparation – stews, soups, rice dishes, beans etc
  • Availability: all year round

Red

Used fresh and dried.

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Green

Used in general food prep, ofada sauce, etc

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In summary, these are the common fresh peppers and chilies used in Nigeria and the other names you can identify them as.

Source: Kitchen Butterfly