Suya

Well what can I say… This is probably one of the most popular dishes in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa (at least in one form or another). You can liken it to what the middle-easterners call kabob. I knew I was going to have to tackle this dish eventually but, the inspiration for this dish finally came to me after one of my long distance friends went home over the Christmas and took a picture at home. So I dedicate this dish to Lady G. (for anonymity sake). So what makes Suya special? well it is the special peanut based spice rub, without this we might as well call it grilled beef.

About a year ago I was having a decent conversation with some of my friends about what we miss the most about Naija and someone mentioned suya; almost immediately everyone went crazy. Someone even talked about how they would go to the suya joint (Roadside restaurant that served mainly suya), get some suya and then complete the meal with a cold bowl of Ijebu garri (Cassava/Yuca based meal a.k.a. African grits) and cold water. Since I am a man of few words but definitely a man of action, I embarked on another journey, this time I was going to not only make suya but make the best tasting suya anyone with the privilege to taste them ever had. There were a few bumps along the way but I am glad to say that I made it. So enough story telling, lets get started…

Type: Regular Meal.

Ingredients: Here is what you need: serves 5 – 10

  • Meat (preferably beef)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Paprika (used to give a reddish color)
  • Roasted Peanuts (3 cups – I prefer using Planters cocktail peanuts)
  • Tomatoes (at least 3 roma tomatoes)
  • Red Onions (2 bulbs – Must use red onions)
  • Ground Ginger (2 tablespoons)
  • Onion Powder (4 spoons – optional)
  • Curry, Garlic (to taste – optional)

Special Utensils:

  • Wooden skewers (Any kind of skewers should work. i.e. wood or metal)
  • Old Newspaper (optional – very optional)

Preparation:

Pre-preparation (spice rub).

  • One of the first things I tried to look for was a blender (good luck searching for one). The solution was a coffee blender (grinder).
  • Using the blender, take a little amount of the whole peanuts and blend them for a short period of time. If you blend the peanuts for too long, it will become peanut butter (we definitely don’t want this). By the time you are done, the peanut blend should have a semi-powdery texture. Also, it is okay to still have whole and semi-whole peanuts in the peanut blend, you will have to pick them out.
  • now mix in the spices with the peanut blend and make sure it has an even texture.
  • That’s it we are done with the spice rub.
  • NOTE: In case you are trying to make the spice rub for a different serving size, I usually keep the following ratio in parts… peanut blend (40), red (hot) pepper (2), paprika (5), ginger powder (2), salt (2), onion powder (optional) (3), garlic powder (optional) (2), curry (optional) (2)

Pre-preparation (others).

  • Clean and cut the beef (or any other meat) and put it aside.
  • Clean and cut the tomatoes.
  • Also, clean and cut the red onions.
  • NOTE: the thinner the cut meat, the faster it will cook.
  • NOTE: also put the cut tomatoes and onions in a refrigerator otherwise it may look dull by the time you want to use it.

Now for the main stuff…

  • Attach the meat to the skewers.
  • Because I do not usually put too much salt in the peanut based rub, I sprinkle some additional salt on the skewered meat at this point.
  • Next, bath the skewered meat in the peanut based rub and allow to sit for a few minutes.
  • At this point rub some oil on the meat. I usually prefer to use vegetable oil spray (e.g. pam). It is easier to use a spray instead of a brush.
  • Place the meat on a baking tray and place in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius) .
  • Take meat out of oven and remove from the skewers and place the meat in a bowl.
  • Mix in the cut onions and tomatoes.
  • At this point you can wrap the mixture in the newspaper or serve in a plate.

Thats it. There may be a debate over whether Suya is a meal or an appetizer but I will tell you this, it is sooooo good.

Pictures:

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