So Alike yet so different; exploring Turkey and Nigeria through their food

‘’No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive’’ – Mahatma Gandhi

The rich culture of Turkey and Nigeria is alluring, captivating and enthralling. I could use all the possible adjectives in the dictionary because both these countries have so much to offer in terms of History, music, dance, art and food. What interests me particularly is their traditional dessert, which not only dates back to centuries but also gives us a little knowledge on the history.

The Turkish Baklava is my personal favorite so I just had to write about it!

Baklava is a pastry that is very sweet in taste and contains nuts, as that is the one of the main ingredients. There are various types of baklavas containing a variety of nuts from pistachios to almonds. Many believe that the first Baklava made was by the Assyrians in the 8th Century BC and was made for special occasions. Baklava can be found in every country in central Asia/ the Middle East.

Fact: Until the mid-19th century Baklava was considered a food for the rich upper class. A common expression often used in Turkey by the middle and lower class was ‘’I am not rich enough to eat Baklava everyday/ in my house.’’ 

Now however you don’t have to be in the upper class to enjoy Baklava you can eat it anytime and it is easily available, I get Baklavas from a Lebanese shop called ‘Al-Qalaa’ in Camden Town-London. They provide a variety of Baklavas ranging from the type of nuts.

Different forms of Baklava

The main ingredients are nuts, sugar and honey; the other ingredients are lemon juice, ground cloves, unsalted butter, cinnamon and filo pastry. For those of you who are not familiar ‘filo’ are thin sheets of dough used for pastry making especially to make Baklavas. It look something like this is.

Another sweet-in-taste dessert is the famous Nigerian puff-puff. It is commonly made within the Ibibo and Kalabari tribes in southern Nigeria. Although it looks like a bun it is not a bun it is more similar to a doughnut. The alternative names are Togbei, which is used in Ghana and translates to ‘goat balls’; in other parts it is called bofrot. The dough used to make puff-puff contains flour, yeast, sugar, butter, salt, water and eggs. Unlike other desserts, puff-puff needs to be deep fried until it produces a golden brown colour.  Even though I am not a big fan of fried food, I want to try this particular dessert, looks really yummy!

*Photos uploaded do not belong to me unless otherwise stated



  1. I haven’t heard the word Puff Puff in such a long time. It used to be a stable in my lunch box growing up. I encourage you to try it. I am sure a Nigerian in your locality can help you with that. Good luck on your culinary quest.

  2. I love how you linked history and popular culture to Baklava.

  3. Baklava and puff puff – desserts have such fabulous names, even before you taste them! nicola

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