Suya beef kebab with Irio and Salatu Niebe
Suya beef kebab with Irio and Salatu Niebe is perhaps as pan-African as one gets. Suya originates from Nigeria and is normally seen as street food sold mainly by the Hausa men (popularly called a Mai Suya) of northern Nigeria origin. It goes by the name Chinchinga in Ghana and in Sudan it is called agashe. Chicken, goat, liver, kidney and in the recipe below minced beef can all be used in making this skewered roast meat. It is not unusual to see fish suya and vegetable suya these days.
Even though suya is normally had on its own and perhaps washed down with a beer especially in Ghana, Kenya’s Irio (mashed potatoes, green peas and corn) and Senegal’s Salutu Niebe (black-eyed bean salad) are combined with the suya. This combo transforms suya from the street food that it is into a fuller meal that can be had in the home. A sauce like shito or of your choice can also be added as a dip or to spice things up a notch or two.
Suya spice mix is called Yaji in Nigeria and like Ghana’s chinchinga spice mix it is reddish yellow in colour and made of a mixture of groundnuts (peanuts) or more specifically kulikuli – a groundnut snack, cloves, ginger, two or three kinds of peppers including black pepper and in some cases the African birds eye chilli. Salt is added to taste.
One of the reasons why I love this spice mix is that that even though the base of groundnut cake, ginger, cloves and pepper should be present you can vary not only the amounts but add other spices such as onion powder, paprika, grains of paradise or grains of selim to make your own uniquely flavoured sue spice mix. In Nigeria and Ghana the Mai Suya or professional suya makers and vendors have their own unique spice mixes which make them the vendors of choice for customers who like that particular taste or flavour. There is no standadised suya spice mix. In fact, variety is literally the spice of life when it comes to suya.
Even though the suya kebab featured here is the star of this meal, the Irio with its doze of healthy vegetables and the Salatu Niebe with it’s own combo of beans and vegetables makes this a great full meal. It is flavourful, full of vareity and wholesome.
Click below for each of the recipes used in this meal: