Suya is a much-loved street food of grilled meat heavily spiced with a mix of peanuts and aromatics. The suya sellers migrated with this prized dish from the Hausa north of Nigeria to the rest of the country and beyond the Sahel and Savanna regions. Fragrant coconut and heady spices with West African uda pods and roasted peanuts are the stars of this dish. I use the coconut milk and my suyaspices for the aromatic rice, lightly poaching the chicken in the same broth for tenderness before grilling to give it a nice charred crust.
Cook, Share & Inspire
You know I love encouraging cooks to cook with what they have and find ways to make each recipe interesting every time by swapping favourite and seasonal vegetables. This recipe is just one of those that really allows you to make it your own.
Cooks Tips: Swap the chicken for king oyster mushrooms or well drained tofu
200g of Tilda easy cook basmati rice
1 tbsp of coconut oil
1 onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp of ginger, freshly grated
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tbsp of curry powder
1 bay leaf
400ml of coconut milk
1 uda pod (grains of selim), crushed
1 tsp sea salt
3 small carrots, chopped into small cubes
150g of green beans, trimmed and quartered
3 spring onions, chopped
GRILLED CHICKEN SUYA
600g of chicken thigh, free-range, skinless and boneless
1 tsp sea salt
150g of blanched peanuts, roasted
5 uda pods (grains of selim)
1 tbsp of garlic powder
1 tbsp of ground ginger
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp of coconut oil
2 beef tomatoes, halved
2 red onions, quartered
coconut flakes, or coconut chips
Let’s get cooking
- Prepare a broth for the chicken and coconut rice by heating a tablespoon of coconut oil in a wide saucepan. Add the sliced onion and cook over a medium heat until softened, then add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
- Lightly toast the whole seeds in a hot dry frying pan for a minute or until darker in colour, then crush with a pestle and mortar and add to the onions. Add the curry powder and stir
- Throw in the bay leaf, coconut milk, crushed whole uda pod and sea salt. Stir well, bring the broth to the boil and add the chicken thighs. Reduce heat to low, cover and poach for 5 minutes.
- Remove the uda pod and poached chicken from the broth with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to drain
- For the coconut rice, rinse the rice, drain well and add to the coconut broth. Cook tightly covered over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the chopped carrots and green beans, then cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Check the rice for doneness and, if needed, add 100–200ml of water at a time. Continue to cook until the rice is tender. Once cooked, sprinkle with chopped spring onions and fluff the rice with a fork
- For the suya, dry roast the peanuts in a hot frying pan until golden then crush into a fine powder using a pestle and mortar or food processor. Transfer to a muslin cloth and squeeze out as much oil as possible, until you are left with a cakey peanut residue
- Crush the uda pods as finely as possible, separating and discarding the coarse bark. Mix the peanuts and crushed uda pods with the garlic, ginger and chilli powder, then season with sea salt. Save a tablespoon or two of the suya spices for garnish, and use the rest to coat both sides of the poached chicken thighs.
- Heat a grill or griddle pan until smoking hot. Brush the chicken on both sides with coconut oil and grill for 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the grill and leave to rest. Place the beef tomatoes and onions on the grill until charred.
- Slice the grilled chicken into thin strips and serve with the coconut rice, char-grilled onions and tomatoes and a sprinkling of the reserved suya spices, just like you would get on the bustling streets of Lagos.
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