A Very Amusing Incident with a Kebab: Suya (Nigerian-spiced Kebabs)

A Very Amusing Incident with a Kebab:  Suya (Nigerian-spiced Kebabs)

In France, it’s crepes.  Filled with nutella, sugar, fruit, cheese…whatever you want. I go with nutella. You know, chocolate and all.  But you already know about those.

In Belgium, it’s waffles.  But you already know about those, too.

In Turkey, it’s corn on the cob.  Husks still on and slightly burnt, but leaving the kernels inside intact and sweet.

In Germany, it’s sausage. Any sausage.  At Oktoberfest, it may just be the most perfect answer to the question of “will I be hungover tomorrow?” You won’t if you eat this.  Pretzels work too, but not as well.



Tomato, with a pretzel. She’s a little red.


In Prague, it’s trdelnik. Sugary, spiral pastries, baked right there in the cart before your eyes.  Try and walk by without eating one.

In New York, it’s a hot dog. The vendors are at the ready any time of the day, whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner, 3 pm snack or something to munch on your way home from the show.

At Disney World, it’s a turkey leg. It may be the most un-ladylike thing I could ever eat, but trust me, eat one without abandon in front of a guy and he’ll be yours.



Unfortunately, there is more than one picture of me eating a turkey leg out there.  Keepin’ it classy.


Spiced nuts. Anywhere and everywhere.  The sugary, toasty aroma that wafts with such a power that anyone within 100 feet of the cart that lacks will power is doomed.  I’m often powerless.   I’m  a sucker for nuts.



I LOVE nuts.

Most recently, it was a kebab in Miami on the beach.  No knives required.

And finally in London, my absolute favorite, and the best lunch option on Portobello Road on Saturday afternoon- a freshly baked roll stuffed with nothing more than a grilled chicken thigh, grilled onions and spicy mustard from the German Chicken Lady.



Lettuce, with the coveted chicken roll.


Street food…the food of the people.  In all of my travels, most of my favorite meals have come from the streets rather than a sit down establishment (you can tell by how many pictures I have of BLT eating street food, and these are just a few), despite sometimes coming from carts with questionable hygiene.  Not OFF the streets, mind you- I don’t go digging through garbage (though Donut, Grape and I once ate some cake that had just been placed near the recyclables at work, but (1) it had JUST been put there and (2) it had whipped frosting, so it was worth the risk….anyway…).  That brings me to today’s recipe:  Suya.


Suya is Nigerian street food, originating from the Hausa people in the north, but popular throughout the nation.   The method isn’t out of the ordinary from your standard kebab, but the spice rub is definitely different from anything I’ve ever had, thanks to a unique combination of spices added to ground peanuts, which I almost never use as a marinade (big mistake. HUGE.)  Suya is typically made with beef, though I can’t imagine why the spice rub can’t be used on anything you prefer.  I’m not sure about you, but I regularly fall into a rut when spicing my meats for the grill, so this was a welcome change.


Also, even though it was 60 degrees yesterday, I chickened out from using the actual grill and used the broiler. Broiling is just upside down grilling, so it worked just fine. I kept it simple as far as accompaniments, eating just a simple salad dressed with lemon juice.  The whole meal was a welcome change from the heavier soups and stews that I have made and will be making in the weeks to come.




1 pound beef for the grill (I used sirloin, but round works well, too), cut into strips or cubes, whichever you prefer

1/4 cup peanuts

1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper*

1 tsp paprika smoked paprika

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Tomatoes, peppers or onions, whichever you like, to kebab with the beef.

*I used half the amount of cayenne the recipe called for because I was afraid of the full amount, and I’m glad I made the cut*


I ran out of skewers, so just broiled some of the meat on foil



1.  If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water, at least 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.

2.  Grind the peanuts into a fine powder, using either a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle.  Set aside 3 TB for the marinade (you only need 3TB.  Reserve the leftover for another use).

2.  Add the rest of the spices to the 3 TB of peanuts.  Add them to a Ziploc bag and add the meat and a little oil, if necessary, to help the spices stick to the meat.  Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Season your veggies with salt and pepper.

3.  Heat up your broiler or grill. Skewer the beef and veggies, alternating them.

4.  Place the kebabs on the grill and cook until done. It probably won’t take more than 3-4 minutes a side.



And one more pic for your enjoyment…

street food

Now that’s what I call street food.

Tomato and Lettuce, post-Oktoberfest, approximately 11 pm at the Haufbahnof in Munich.

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