While traditionally made only with beef, suya is a Nigerian dish of skewered slices of meat seasoned with a fiery blend of cayenne, ground peanuts and other spices. Kwame Onwuachi, Top Chef star and chef of upcoming restaurant The Shaw Bijou in D.C., offers his modern twist on the classic dish.
In addition to beef (Onwuachi recommends sliced Wagyu), chicken and shrimp are also seasoned and grilled. And instead of adding tomatoes and onions to the skewers, Onwuachi makes a soubise, a classic French sauce made with cream, tomatoes and onions, to serve alongside.
This is a dish for spice lovers. We're warning you now: There's an addictive kick to it that will keep you coming back for more (and more). Just squeeze on a little lime to tame the heat ever so slightly.
To learn more, read "Talk Suya."
Nigerian Mixed Grill (Suya)
Recipe adapted from Kwame Onwuachi, The Shaw Bijou, Washington, D.C.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes, plus marinating time
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes, plus marinating time
For the Suya Spice Blend:
3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1½ tablespoons roasted peanuts, ground into a fine powder
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 Maggi bouillon cubes, ground into a fine powder
For the Suya:
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound Wagyu rib eye, thinly sliced into strips
1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
12-inch bamboo skewers, for grilling
Lime wedges, for serving
Chopped parsley, for garnish
For the Roasted Tomato Soubise:
2 medium vine-ripe tomatoes, stemmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
1. Make the spice blend: In a small bowl, mix together all the spice blend ingredients until incorporated.
2. Prepare the suya: In three separate bowls, place the shrimp, rib eye and chicken, respectively. Divide the spice blend between the proteins and mix well to coat the meats. Cover each in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour.
3. Make the soubise: Preheat the oven to 400º. On a baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with the olive oil and salt. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes, then remove and let cool.
4. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they have fully broken down, 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and milk, and bring to a light simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly thickened, 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth. Season with salt and set aside.
5. Light a grill. Skewer the shrimp, rib eye and chicken separately onto soaked bamboo skewers. Grill the skewers, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes for the shrimp, 2 to 3 minutes for the rib eye and 6 to 8 minutes for the chicken. Transfer the skewers to a platter and squeeze the lime wedges over the meat. Garnish with parsley and serve alongside the roasted tomato soubise.
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