7 Delicious Desserts from Northern Nigeria That You Have to Try

You guys should already know how much of a fan of Nigerian food I am and if you don’t, read these:

Naturally, when I visited Kaduna earlier this month, I was incredibly excited about the possibility of trying food that is native to Northern Nigeria. As it was my first time and I was relatively uninitiated, I was clueless about the specialities save for kilishi, suya and a few others. While I didn’t explore as much I would have loved to, I did get to try seven delicious sweets that are certainly worth sharing:



Donkwa took me way back to my childhood. It was standard Sunday-evening, time-to-braid-your-hair-for-school snack for me and my sister every week, back to back. Donkwa is a savoury snack made from cornmeal and groundnuts. It doesn't require cooking, just a few ingredients and an astute use of water - oh and clean hands. Outside of its taste, its texture is one of my favourite things about this snack. The texture of Donkwa that is sold here in Lagos is different, it’s a lot finer than the type I had in Kaduna. The balls of Donkwa in Kaduna were grainy and broke easily, which is as a result of not enough cornmeal (most likely deliberate). It also had sugar in it, which gave the taste a whole new different spin. I still prefer the ones sold in Lagos, and I think it’s called Tanfiri down here.


Tuwon Madara

Now, this sweet is basically just milk and sugar. It’s made by slowly boiling milk, sugar, and sometimes butter until it coagulates. It is then cooled and cut into one’s desired shape. It’s as milky as one would imagine. Although, I liked this a lot, I couldn’t have more than a bite. It was too sweet, almost cloying.



Alkaki is a type of sweet cake made with wheat, yeast and sugar. Making this is not a walk in the park. It’s extremely stressful and could take up to 10 hours for the batter to rest and you’re not done yet. You still have to knead it using a mortar and pestle. After all this stress, it is fried and then coated in honey. It’s worth the stress though (for people who enjoy the rewards of labour in the kitchen) because it is absolutely delicious. The one I had was kinda made into a knot, but I guess it can be made into any shape the baker desires


Nakia (Rice Cake)

Similar to Donkwa, this sweet it made into little spheres. Unlike Donkwa, I did not like it. Nakia is sweet, a little spicy and the rice (I'm guessing) gave it a musty flavour that I definitely didn’t like. Between you and me, it tasted like old dirty socks in my opinion. Before you ask how I know what old, dirty socks taste like, I haven’t actually tasted socks but this might help you understand how I made that inference.



This is literally a cookie; made with milk and butter. Its flavour reminded me of shortbread, that’s exactly what it tasted like. It’s adorable. I liked this one.



This is a crisp pastry that is basically filo pastry with a twist. It’s folded on itself like a samosa and topped with sesame seeds. I hated this because the eggs were a bit too dominant and I hate eggs. My first taste and immediately knew I’d had too much.



These adorable are tiny round balls of milk with sugar rolled into a ball and fried. They are really sweet, kinda like white Maltesers, but without the chocolate. If you mistook them for puff-puff, you’d definitely be rudely shocked.