Suya for an African Picnic

Nky Iweka pursues her African picnic challenge with Suya, a very popular roadside snack. Although it is best eaten hot, it is perfectably acceptable eaten cold or you could take along a portable barbeque (venue permitting). Suya is similar to satay and is made from beef, chicken or ram.
The Making of an African Picnic

The Making of an African Picnic

Buy your ingredients:
  • Beef: rump or sirloin gives the best results (start with a kilo)
  • Raw sliced onions (use two: one for the beef marinade and the other for the suya salsa)
  • Vegetable oil (approx four tablespoons)
  • Tomatoes (two large ones)

You’ll also need some salt.

Make your yaji seasoning:
  • Chilli powder
  • Peanut paste
  • Dried ginger
  • Onion powder
  • Ground cloves
  • Salt
Start with a teaspoon of everything, and modify until it suits your palette. Many African food stores also sell Suya Rub, if you’d rather not make it yourself.
Although Yaji contains a couple of other African spices that may be hard to find, this is a good approximation. Every Mai Suya (suya seller) has their own secret yaji recipe and I am reliably informed that some also add a pinch or two of curry powder.
An African Picnic - created by Tupelo and Green

An African Picnic – created by Tupelo and Green

Make your suya salsa:
  1. Slice the tomatoes
  2. Add the sliced onions
  3. Add some yaji seasoning
Mix well.


  1. Slice beef as thinly as possible and marinade for at least an hour with some Yaji (suya rub), raw onions and vegetable oil. Add salt to taste.
  2. Thread onto skewers and either grill over a barbeque (for the authentic smokey aroma of a Nigerian nightime street).
  3. Alternatively, stick in the oven for a few minutes on either side until the meat is done to your taste. In Nigeria, suya is served in newspapers with suya salsa.
A Suya BBQ

Suya on the BBQ

It is also sometimes accompanied by Sinasir (onion-flavoured rice pancakes), I have choosen to accompany it with a similiar dish: Masa (rice cakes). Both are fairly easy to make except that Masa requires a special frying pan to form its distinctive domed shape.


Share your comments below to let us know how you make your suya. We might just surprise you with one of the blue Sky tracks napkins in Nky’s fabulous photo, which were inspired by designs from the Congo.
No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Thank you for subscribing! Check your inbox for your first coupon!