Fire, meat, skewers. 3 words which, possess the ability to ignite an instant appetite…put all three words together and you have an irresistible combination known as a kebab. Which of course is amongst one of the most primal forms of cuisine known to humankind.
It’s a gastronomic pursuit of mine, I’ve tasted kebabs with various accents, Indian, South African, Indonesian, Argentinian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Spanish, Pakistani, Persian…and the common theme is that they all taste great when dredged and marinated in spices. This Suya kebab recipe from Nigeria is no exception, it’s up there with the greats and once you’ve tasted them you’ll know why. Suya huts or grills feature as roadside paradise pop-ups, using a special blend of Tsire or suya spice, it’s a kicking blend of nuts, chillies, ginger and warming spices which when ground into powder and applied to meat and grilled transforms flesh into the fantastical.
Tsire blends are as personal as a pair of underpants, so for the purpose of this Suya Kebab recipe I sourced mine from the Spice Shop. I’ve also used Tsire when making burgers, mixing sausage meat and even dusted some into Greek yoghurt and mixed it as a dip. Crank up the Fela Kuti, loosen your hips and lips and chow down on these Suya Sticks.
Makes 8 Suya Sticks
- 500g Beef fillet, thinly sliced and spread
- 100g suya spice
- 2 tbs ground nut oil
- 8 soaked bamboo skewers
How To Make Suya Kebabs
Thinly slice the fillet and spread with the back of a knife. Brush the beef ribbons with the groundnut oil, then dab the pieces into the suya spice, ensuring all the spice sticks to the meat. Now thread the beef ribbons on to skewers and leave to marinade for an hour.
Now set your oven to 150°C or about 300°F preheat for 10 minutes. Place the skewers on the oven rack and put in the oven to roast for 15- 20 minutes, halfway through flip the beef to roast the underside as well. Now brush with some remaining oil and grill for 5 minutes on each side, ensuring the beef caramelizes a little. Alternatively cook over an open grill for 10 minutes and leave to rest for a few minutes once cooked.
Serve traditionally with chunks of onions, tomatoes cabbage and cucumber. Alternatively serve with young salad leaves, a wedge of lemon and glisten with pomegranate seeds.