Peppered Snail: Spicy Nigerian Snail Dish!

December 3, 2019 (Last Updated: March 14, 2020)

The spicy, chewy goodness of peppered snail consists of boiled snails sautéed in onions, peppers and spice. This spicy Nigerian snail dish is quite easy to prepare and is a guilty pleasure of a lot of Nigerian homes

Close up shot of the spicy Nigerian peppered snail dish in bowl

Hi Y’all! It’s been another long while and yes, I know I said that the last twenty umpteen times, but stuff happens you know? I’m back again and the time spent huddled away from the freezing temperatures of the east coast blizzards finally reminded me that I hadn’t put out one of my delectable recipes in months! Well my pain is your gain as I whip up a recipe I’d kept in the cooler until the right time… so let me introduce you to the meaty snack that has been a generational favorite in my family starting from my father in law to my husband (wow…such history…lol). I’m referring to the spicy, tasty and chewy goodness of Nigerian peppered snail! Pepper snail (Nigeria’s colloquial name for spicy snail) is a spicy Nigerian snail dish that is quite easy to prepare with a savory taste that belies its simplicity. Commonly served in classy Nigerian events and parties where the caterer is trying to show off their flavor panache, you will not forget that spicy stew taste combined with just the right mix of pepper and caramelized onions. Natively, the snails used in peppered snail recipes is of the Giant African snail variety.

close up image of peppered snail in a bowl.

While giant African snails are naturally found in the tropical forest areas of East and West Africa, and other tropical countries, I have very clear memories as a kid of finding and picking stray snails that wandered into my mum’s garden behind the house especially in the rainy season. It was quite common after finding them under the largest leaves in the garden or slowly crawling in the soil to quickly pick them in order to prevent them from ravaging the garden (something they are very quick to do)! They quickly ended up as meat in my mum’s soup or stews but when harvested in large quantities, this spicy Nigerian snail dish was inevitable! This delicious snack consisting of boiled snails sautéed in onions, peppers and spice is quite the guilty pleasure of a lot of Nigerian households. I suspect pepper snail is one of the tricks snack Nigerian wives’ resort to when it’s time to ask the “ogas at the top” for the children’s school fees, money for hair, market etc and when daddy needs some… motivation (It’s commonly viewed as an aphrodisiac in certain parts of Nigeria). Pepper snails happen to be one of my hubby’s favorites and he has often regarded me with stories of how he’d get jealous when his mum would prepare a load of peppered snail for his dad (especially when he started to avoid red meats) only for him and his siblings to get a couple to share! Lol! Mum would eventually sneak some away for them though. We were able to find some sizeable apple snails to recreate the experience so I’m glad he gets to live out his childhood dreams!

Peppered Snails served on a plate and a bowl

How to Make Peppered Snail

Main Ingredients

  • 2 lbs (about 0.907 kg) Shelled jumbo snails – Jumbo snails or apples snails found in the frozen isle of local Asian markets are great alternatives to the African giant snail. Though smaller, they will provide a close substitute to the original experience.
  • 2 large Onions
  • 2 Scotch bonnet peppers (you may use less depending on your spice tolerance)
  • 1 Small bell pepper
  • 3 Limes (may substitute with 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons of Shrimp powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Seafood bouillon powder
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • A quarter cup of Oil

How to Wash Snails for Eating

Washing snails needn’t be intimidating once you can overlook the gooeyness and get hands on and personal! Lol. Actually they are very easy to wash once you let them sit in a mixture of lemon juice and hot water and then rub afterward with the lemon itself to remove the slime. You can also replace the lemon juice mixture with vinegar and hot water and after having it sit for about 10 minutes scrub with a clean sponge (see details in recipe below). The same washing method applies to frozen snails purchased from the supermarket.

Sautee the Snails

Follow the steps as outlined below to cook the peppered snails.

6-step photo of how to cook spicy snails.
  1. Boil the snails with sliced onions, scotch bonnet peppers, salt and bouillon in water with 1 teaspoon of bouillon, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 bay leaf on low heat for 30 minutes (Steps 1-2 in picture)
  2. Saute another sliced onion, scotch bonnet, and bell pepper in oil on medium heat until the onions turn translucent (Steps 3-4)
  3.  Add in the snails, and continue to saute for another 15 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary (Steps 5-6)
  4. Serve the peppered snails hot! With a side of extra chili and onions if desired
top view of spicy Nigerian snail dish served on plates

Snail Health Benefits

While the gooey, squelchy appearance of snails can initially seem off-putting, once you look past that they are quite delicious, an amazing source of animal protein and extremely low fat. In fact, these molluscs serve as a major, yet inexpensive source of protein to various indigenous Nigerian coastal tribes like the Yorubas, Efik and Ibibio. They are also rich sources of zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.

This spicy Nigerian snail dish is usually eaten on its own but it can be paired with boiled yam or boiled rice. I also recommend some chapman drink or zobo drink to wash it down.

Please be sure to rate my Peppered snail recipe and leave a comment below if you tried it! Also while you’re here why not take a quick second and subscribe to my newsletter to get email notifications on new recipes, click the links to FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST or INSTAGRAM? You can catch some behind the scenes action, my shopping hauls, personalized tips and friend-only recipes with videos on my Instagram. Also pin this recipe for later and explore some of my favorite recipes on Pinterest and if you love it as much as I know you will, SHARE with some friends! 

Close up shot of the spicy Nigerian peppered snail dish in bowl
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Peppered Snail Recipe

The spicy, chewy goodness of peppered snail consists of boiled snails sautéed in onions, peppers and spice. This spicy Nigerian snail dish is quite easy to prepare and is a guilty pleasure of a lot of Nigerian homes
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Nigerian
Servings: 6
Calories: 175.3kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Shelled jumbo snails
  • 2 large Onions
  • 2 Scotch bonnet peppers (you may use less depending on your spice tolerance)
  • 1 Small bell pepper
  • 3 Limes (may substitute with 2 lemons)
  • 2 tbsp Shrimp powder
  • 1 tsp Seafood bouillon powder
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • ¼ cup Oil

Instructions

  • In a bowl, pour hot water and the juice of the three limes over the snails to remove the slime covering the snails. Be sure to keep the leftover rind of the limes of lemons.
  • Once the hot water that the snails have sat in cools down (allow to sit for about 10 minutes), used the lime or lemon rings to rub against the snails to remove the slime. It should come off pretty easily. Rise the snails thoroughly in cool water.
  • Slice one of the onions, and one of the scotch bonnet peppers, and set aside.
  • In a pot, boil the snails with the sliced onions and scotch bonnet peppers, 1 tsp bouillon, 1 tsp salt, 1 bay leaf and 1 cup pf water on low heat for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes of boiling, turn off the heat, and set the snails aside.
  • Slice the other onion, scotch bonnet, and bell pepper.
  • In a pan, heat up the oil on medium heat, and saute the sliced onions and peppers until it is translucent. Add in the snails, and continue to saute for another 15 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Serve the peppered snails hot! With a side of extra chili and onions if desired

Notes

Peppered Snail Calories and Nutrition Info

 

6 Comments

  • Reply
    Chichi
    December 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    5 stars
    Yummy. These look so good and the pictures are popping. Well done dear. Happy you were able to make this for your hubby.

    • Reply
      Lois. O
      January 8, 2020 at 9:27 pm

      Thanks sis!!

  • Reply
    Mamadou
    March 13, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    5 stars
    Wow!! So tasty. I made this tonight. I always associate snails with French food, thank you for this delicious recipe.

    • Reply
      Lois
      March 14, 2020 at 1:16 pm

      I know right? I’m really glad you liked them!

  • Reply
    Shamiso mbanga
    March 23, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    So I bought these snails at the Nigerian store . However asking the store people for directions was a nightmare . I can’t tell if they are cleaned or not. They are not in their shells . Can you help me please ?

    • Reply
      Lois
      March 23, 2020 at 7:57 pm

      Hi Shamiso. They are probably not cleaned (especially if they are from a Nigerian store). I got mine from an African store and still had to clean them. The safest bet is to just clean them again following the instructions above. Hope that helps!

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