The name ‘suya’ is said to be an Hausa word which means ‘to fry’ but the words can perhaps also be explained by the involuntary sound that escapes from the mouth upon relishing a piece of the spicy peppered meat; a sharp intake of moist breath and an open mouth exhalation.
Originally from the Northern part of Nigeria, this savoury meat delight has travelled around the country and beyond, there is always a suya spot somewhere in every nook and cranny of the country. Suya is believed to have originated from travelling cattlemen who would sit around around campfires and cook the grilled meat skewered on sticks or their daggers over open fire.
Suya is made with beef fillets marinated in peanut oil and a special dry mix called yaji which gives the meat its characteristic taste and aroma. The suya is usually garnished with vegetables like onions, cabbage, cucumber and some more yaji powder for taste. Either enjoyed with a chilled drink, a bowl of garri, as part of a main meal or on its own, suya is a simple savoury snack everyone can relate to.
There have been concerns as regards the hygienic standard of street suya but the good thing is you can make this in the comfort of your homes using this simple recipe.
First lets get the recipe for the suya spice
- ½ cup of roasted groundnuts
- ½ cup small dry cayenne pepper-powdered
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp dry ginger
- ½ tsp dry garlic
- Peel the skin off the roasted groundnuts
- Grind into a paste. Add a little hot water and and pour the paste through a pap sieve
- Squeeze the paste leaving only the groundnut cake. Let it dry a little before you start frying
- After frying, add the cayenne pepper, ground ginger, garlic powder, salt and blend further.
Next we learn how to prepare Suya
- BEEF/ Tripes (Mutton or Chicken can also be used)
- Skewers (optional)
- Suya spice
- Peanut oil
- Soak the skewers in water for a few hours and to prevent them from burning while grilling the meat
- Cut the meat into thin small slices
- Thread into the skewers until all the pieces are finished
- Dip each skewer in peanut oil to thoroughly coat the meat
- Spread the suya spice on a tray and press the skewered meat on it, coating on both sides
- Grill, turning until both sides are well browned and ready. The thrill in an awesome tasting suya is in the yaji mix deeply rubbed into the meat.
- Enjoy with with some vegetables on the side and add more yaji if you have a spice condoning palate.
The difference between suya and other grilled meats is in the spice; the spicy peanutty crunchy taste of the yaji when it blends with the juiciness of the meat; that is suya.