Suya is a popular Nigerian street food. It is spicy, skewered meat grilled over an open flame or hot charcoal. It has a strong, pleasant aroma.
Suya is mostly prepared with beef, but chicken, goat meat, fish, and gizzard can be used as well. Animal entrails like kidney and liver are also used. The best meat for suya is tender and fatty.
The meat, cut into small sizes and stacked in a roll onto the skewers, is marinated in a special blend of spices such as ground peanuts, vegetable oil, garlic, ginger, chilli pepper, onions, and herbs, and then barbecued for about 25 minutes.
Suya is served with dried pepper mixed with spices and sliced onions, and in some cases with cabbage and tomatoes. It is wrapped in old newspapers or aluminium foil. It can be eaten as it is or served as meat for rice, stew, and soups.
Suya stalls are always located in an open space. Interestingly, suya is mostly found and eaten at nighttime. This is because the vendors spend the day preparing the meat. Also, grilling the meat under the blazing afternoon sun would be uncomfortable.
Though it originated from the northern Nigeria, suya is now a staple food in every part of the country; it is also common in other West African countries. This is chiefly due to the migration of Hausa people, who take up selling suya as a means of income.
Kilishi is a dried form of suya and can last for months without much change to its taste.
Uzoma Ihejirika is a Nigerian creative writer and journalist. He is an editor for the AfroAnthology Series and a copy editor for Minority Africa and has written for Open Country Mag. He has works on Lolwe and Isele Magazine.