25 things to find at Mararaba Market

A collection of foodstuff found at Mararaba market, Nasarawa state, arguably the largest market in Northern Nigeria.

Market stall with various items (2019)The Centenary Project

Buying foodstuff in Northern Nigeria? Try Orange Market

Feel the vibrant colour and variety of Northern foodstuff. New Orange Market in Mararaba is the best choice for many Nigerians living in FCT-Abuja and Nasarawa state because agricultural produce are in large quantities, affordable and of good quality.

Onion traders (2019)The Centenary Project

1. Onions

Onions are widely cultivated and consumed in Nigeria. Most Nigerian meals have onions at the base of their preparation. Thus, it is a regularly purchased vegetable in the market.

Green beans (2019)The Centenary Project

2. Green beans

Green beans are commonly used in the preparation of fried rice, which has become a popular meal in Nigeria. Used alongside other vegetables, they are chopped, then steamed or fried.

Cucumbers (2019)The Centenary Project

3. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are consumed whole or chopped into salads; they are widely grown in Nigeria.

Watermelon (2019)The Centenary Project

4. Watermelons

Watermelons rarely go out of season in Nigeria; they are one of the most popular fruits in the country, widely cultivated in the North.

Carrots, green peppers, cucumbers and cabbages (2019)The Centenary Project

5. Carrots

Carrots are also a major ingredient for fried rice, salads and coleslaw. They are mostly cultivated in the Northern part of Nigeria.

Bowls of 'tatashe' and cayenne pepper (2019)The Centenary Project

6. Tatashé

Red bell pepper, commonly called "tatashé" by the Yorubas and Hausas, gives Nigerian stew its thick texture and darkens the redness of the stew. It is barely peppery, or at least far less peppery than scotch bonnet pepper.

Tomatoes (2019)The Centenary Project

7. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a major preparation ingredient for stew. They are often blended with peppers and onions, then boiled and fried.

Green bell peppers (2019)The Centenary Project

8. Green bell peppers

Green bell peppers are cultivated by locals and purchased for the richness and sweetness they add to meals.

Pumpkin leaves (Ugwu) (2019)The Centenary Project

9. Ugu

Fluted pumpkin leaves, popularly known as ugu (an Igbo word), are one of the most popular leafy green vegetables in Nigeria. Known for their health benefits, they are commonly used to prepare local soups across all regions within the country.

Beans, millet and corn (2019)The Centenary Project

10. Beans

Beans are one of the most consumed foods in Nigeria, next to cassava, yam, and rice. Beans can be prepared as pottage, or boiled and eaten plain with white rice. They are also used in preparing gbegiri soup, akara (bean cakes) and moi-moi (bean pudding).

Different types of beans sold in the market (2019)The Centenary Project

11. Corn

Corn grains can be boiled with beans for a pottage meal. They can also be ground in a mill into flour to prepare the Hausa fufu, "tuwo masara".

Basins of Karkashi (2019)The Centenary Project

12. Kuka

Ground baobab leaves ("kuka" in Hausa language) is a northern staple, dried and ground for use in a Hausa soup called "miyan kuka" along with dried catfish, beef and fermented locust beans.

White and yellow garri (grounded cassava) (2019)The Centenary Project

13. Garri

Cassava is processed into a fine texture known as garri, a word that originates from Urhobo language. The yellow version is derived from cassava fried in palm oil. Garri is most popularly used in making eba (cassava dough) or taken as a cereal with water, milk and sugar.

Ground pepper (2019)The Centenary Project

14. Dried ground pepper

Yaji spice is also commonly called suya spice. It is gotten from a blend of spices including cayenne pepper, "kuli kuli", garlic, ginger, stock cubes and salt. It is popularly used to eat suya and in the preparation of kilishi.

Palm nuts (2019)The Centenary Project

15. Palm nuts

Palm nuts are processed into palm oil and palm kernel oil. Traditionally, Nigerians pound the nuts in their mortars and squeeze out the oil by hand. Palm nuts are one of the most important crops among the Igbo ethnic community. The Igbos use the nuts to make a delicious soup called "ofe akwu", which they eat with cooked rice.

Irish Potatoes (2019)The Centenary Project

16. Irish Potatoes

Nigeria is one of the largest producers of Irish potatoes in Africa. Local farmers sell them in bulk at local farmers' markets. It is usually portioned in buckets and baskets for sale.

Sweet potato merchant (2019)The Centenary Project

17. Sweet potatoes

Alongside Uganda and China, Nigeria is one of the largest producers of sweet potatoes. They are sold in bulk at the local farmers' markets in Nigeria, especially in the North where huge sacks can be found for sale at New Orange Market in Nasarawa state.

Yam tubers and watermelons (2019)The Centenary Project

18. Yam

Nigeria is the world's largest producer of yams, with over 2.8 million hectares of land area cultivated for yam production. Yam is eaten across all regions in the country, prepared as boiled yam eaten with sauce or pounded into a solid commonly called "swallow".

Ogbono seeds (2019)The Centenary Project

19. Ogbono seeds

Ogbono seeds are used for Igbo cuisines. They are ground in a mill and used as thickener for soups including Ogbono and Okra soup. Ogbono, when ground and mixed with hot water, gives a slimy texture similar to Okra soup.

Dried herbs and spices (2019)The Centenary Project

20. Dried Herbs and Spices

Marketplaces in Nigeria have stalls where dried ingredients, herbs and spices for Zobo drink or peppersoup are sold. These include turmeric, calabash nutmeg, dried cayenne pepper, cloves, dried sorrel leaves, bush pepper, and cinnamon sticks amongst others.

Fermented locust beans (2019)The Centenary Project

21. Fermented locust beans

Fermented locust beans, known as "dawadawa" (in Hausa language), "iru" (Yoruba), "ogiri" (Igbo), are used in the preparation of native soups and stew including Okro soup, Ewedu soup and Miyan Kuka.

Herbs and spices (2019)The Centenary Project

22. Potash

Potash (locally called "akaun") is a type of lake salt (sodium carbonate) and the second most commonly used salt in Nigeria. It is used to increase viscosity in soups like Okro and Ewedu and to tenderize tough cuts when boiling meat.

Roselle leaves for Zobo (2019)The Centenary Project

23. Zobo Leaves

Dried sorrel herbs (yakwan zobo, in Hausa language) are used in the preparation of Zobo drink. When boiled in water, it gives a ruby red colour, which is unique to the Zobo drink.

African Velvet Tamarind (2019)The Centenary Project

24. African Velvet Tamarind

African velvet tamarind is known as "awin" in Yoruba, "icheku" in Igbo and "tsamiyar kurm" in Hausa. It is also colloquially referred to as "local vitamin c". The fruit pulp has various health benefits including preventing hypertension and relieving diarrhea.

Herd of goats (2019)The Centenary Project

25. Livestock

Commercial goat farming is of significant importance in the agricultural economic system in Nigeria. Northern Nigeria plays a vital role in commercialising it for sale, as goat meat is of great demand across the country.

Credits: Story

Curator: Patrick Enaholo / Olúwafisáyọ̀ Ọkàrè
Research: Olúwafisáyọ̀ Ọkàrè
Photographer: O'Buchi Multimedia
Text: Olúwafisáyọ̀ Ọkàrè
Text editor: Munachim Amah

© The Centenary Project

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Come Chop Bellefull: A Taste of Nigeria
The iconic dishes, must-visit markets, and unforgettable flavors
View theme
Google apps