Beef Suya  Picture: Johnny Miller/The New York Times
Beef Suya Picture: Johnny Miller/The New York Times

How to make African tapas style Beef Suya

By Yewande Komolafe Time of article published Aug 12, 2019

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The dish is one of 10 essential Nigerian recipes in a collection created by recipe writer Yewande Komolafe, who grew up in Lagos and found herself searching for the heat and flavour of Nigerian food in New York.

Suya is a popular Nigerian street food, made of thin strips of meat that are generously seasoned and grilled.


  • 680g boneless short ribs, sliced lengthwise into 6mm strips
  • ¼ cup peanut oil, plus more for grilling
  • 2 tbs store-bought or home-made ground suya spice blend (see note at bottom of recipe), plus more for serving
  • 1 5cm piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, sliced into 6mm strips, seeds discarded
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 lime (optional)
  • ¼ cup toasted peanuts, chopped


  1. Lay several strips of meat on a piece of plastic wrap, leaving about 1.3cm between each slice, and top with another piece of plastic wrap. Pound the meat strips with a rolling pin until 3mm thick. Repeat this process until all the meat has been flattened. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine ¼ cup peanut oil and 2 tbs suya spice blend, with ginger and garlic. Add beef, toss to coat, and season with 2 tsp salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the fridge, for 4 to 12 hours.
  3. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, and brush with peanut oil.
  4. Skewer the beef pieces on 12 pre-soaked wooden or metal skewers, wiping off any excess marinade. Brush the meat with more peanut oil and set the skewers on a baking sheet.
  5. Working in batches, grill the beef skewers until meat is cooked through and lightly charred on both sides, three to four minutes per side. Transfer the skewers to a platter and sprinkle with more suya spice blend.
  6. Place the tomato and onion slices in a bowl, and squeeze lime juice all over. Season with salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Strain any excess liquid. Top skewers with red onion and tomatoes, sprinkle with toasted peanuts, and serve with additional suya spice, for dipping.
  7. Note: To make suya spice blend, combine ¼ cup dry-roasted peanut powder, 1 tbs ground ginger, 2 tsp ground cayenne, 2 tsp hot paprika, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp fine sea salt. Makes about ½ cup.

The New York Times

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