Chicken in suya sauce? Where do you come up with this stuff? That’s what I get asked regularly. Stuff just pops into my head and from there I head off to the kitchen to test it out. This is an experiment that went soo right! If you are or have visited Nigeria then you probably at some point tried our very popular street food from the North of the country called suya. It’s grilled meat that is marinated and seasoned with a bevy of spices. Grilled on open fires to perfection and further seasoned before being wrapped in foil along with even more spice and chopped onions and finally rolled in newspaper. It goes down well with a cold drink, especially beer. You get the picture? Normally the mallams who sell this meat give you a few extra packets of the suya spice. The real recipe is a closely guarded secret, but many a foodie has tried to break it down. Normally we discard these small extra suya spice sachets. But the question that popped into my head was why do we not use the wonderful combination of suya spices for other things? Like a sauce, for example. Hence, my experiment.
So here it is. Chicken in suya sauce, a dish that can be served with rice, yam, potatoes or enjoyed on it’s own.
Not sure if anyone knows the real spices mixed in suya spice other than the mallams from the North but here are the most commonly suspected.
This dish is really simple to make. And the taste? Oh you just have to try it. Think of it as a Nigerian curry.
½ kg of chicken (or any other protein. I used chicken thighs)
1 medium sized red onion
2 cloves of garlic
240ml of coconut milk
Small bunch of fresh basil leaves
Salt and black pepper to season
1 fresh habanero or chilli pepper
200 ml water
For the suya spice mix
3 tsp finely grounded roasted peanuts
1 tsp dry chilli or cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground ginger powder (or fresh ginger finely ground)
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 tsp onion powder
2 African negro pepper pods (snapped in half)
½ tsp of salt (to your taste)
- First prep the chicken. Wash chicken, season with salt and black pepper, place in a pan along with half of the onion rough chopped peppers and two garlic cloves-crushed, and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes until the water in the chicken dries out
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside
- In a small bowl, prep the suya spice mixture by mixing all the spices together along with the ground roasted peanuts. If you have leftover suya spices from your last suya purchase you can use that and skip this step.
- In pan used for the chicken pour in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer on medium heat, add in the suya spice mix and stir until well combined and the African Negro pepper
- Add back in the chicken (with the onions and garlic), add in the remaining half onion rough chopped and cook for 10 minutes. The sauce should cook down slightly make it slightly thick and creamy (think of a curry!)
- Remove from the heat, remove the African Negro pepper pods and serve with rice