What’s the Difference Between Nigerian Soups and Nigerian Stews?

nigerian soups vs nigerian stews

For Nigerians, this is not a question to ponder on because we can recognize our stews and soups even in our dreams. lol

But one of the most frequently asked questions by non-Nigerians across all my online platforms is related to how to differentiate between Nigerian stews and Nigerians Soups.

“Flo what is the difference between Nigerian Soups and Stews? What you prepared looks like stew to me but you called it soup.”

“That is not soup, soup should be watery not thick with lots of meat vegetables. Why did you call this one soup?”

To a foreigner, these two look exactly the same. To make matters more confusing, what we call soups do not look like what the rest of the world calls soups. To make matters even more confusing, in Nigeria we have a group of stews we refer to as sauces. And where do our watery soups stand in all these confusion?

So how can a non-Nigerian differentiate between all these? I have a video below where I talk about these in detail but I will try and explain in writing.

  1. We use Nigerian Soups that look like stews to eat Fufu Meals. Fufu meals are starchy dough we make lumps of, dip in a SOUP and swallow. So how can one recognize Nigerian Soup at a glance? I wouldn’t say once it served with a fufu meal it must be a Nigerian soup because these days lots of Nigerians use what we call stews to eat fufu meals. So that means when we say it is soup, then it is soup irrespective of how it looks. Also our soups usually have a mix of vegetables, meat and fish while stews have one dominant colour.
  2. Then we have another type of soup in Nigeria. This group of soups are watery like what the rest of the world calls soups. When a Nigerian soup is watery, you are sure to have the word PEPPER in the name such as Goat Meat PEPPER Soup, Chicken PEPPER Soup, Assorted Meat PEPPER Soup, Oxtail PEPPER Soup etc. Our watery soups contain lots of spicy pepper and other hot spices, enough to set your mouth on fire so there’s always pepper in the name to warn you of the fire ahead.
  3. Nigerian Stews usually have one dominant colour, the most common being red. Check out Nigerian Tomato Stew, Ofe Akwu (Banga Stew), Ofada Stew (Ayamase) etc. Click here for all Nigerian Stews recipes on this website.
  4. Then we have sauces, Nigerian Sauces are usually imported “stews” made of vegetables that are not originally Nigerian eg Mixed Vegetables Curry Sauce. You will also see sauces in the Nigerian Stews section of this website. If we call it a sauce, you will see the word SAUCE in the name.

Watch the video below for more information.