Recipe: West African Peanut Kebabs | Suya

My pantry’s name is Patty.* She’s actually just a shelf in the laundry room, above the vacuum cleaner and mop, but I love her all the same. Right now she could use a diet – she is packed with boxes upon boxes of noodles, rice, 8 kinds of oils, soup, 4 bags of coffee from around the world, 4 kinds of dried chili peppers, and fishy bouillon cubes I bought 2 years ago for one of our Global Table meals and promptly forgot to use (I’m going to go ahead and presume they aren’t good any more).

Just the other day I unearthed three bulk bags of peanuts in the back corner of the shelf. This is what happens when Patty is in disorder. When I don’t clear through her clutter.

I’ve never been happier to have too many peanuts in my pantry. It means I get to make Suya, west African Peanut Kabobs.

These kabobs, ever-so-popular in Nigeria, crackle with the most addictive crust – ground peanuts seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic, paprika, onion powder, and – as is so common in sub-Saharan African cooking – a bouillon cube. As strange as that sounds, just do it. Trust Nigeria. You’re going to love the salty spice it adds.

A word of warning: don’t make this unless you have the appetite of an Olympic runner. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop eating.

Trust me.

The most traditional recipes call for blending the peanuts, pressing out the oil between paper towels, shaping the resulting powder into balls, deep frying them, cooling and then grinding it into a powder again.


Lots and lots of work. Good for a rainy day or when you want to space out and obsessively think about something or someone (my favorite time to cook).

But this is summer. This is the time to run and play and throw a quick meal on the grill without breaking step.

No worries – there’s a ultra-quick version of Suya (even Nigerians use it) and that’s what we’re doing today.

As far as I’m concerned, this is the best 10 minutes bang-for-your-buck out there.

World Nut Day Recipe: Suya Kabobs from West Africa

Adapted from The World Cookbook for Students.

Makes 6-8 skewers


1 1/2 lbs Beef, chicken, or fish (I used top sirloin)
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 Tbsp grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bouillon cube
2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
cayenne, to taste (optional)
salt, to taste


First, find somewhere in Nigeria to get cooking. Here are a few options, one for every personality. I’ll be at the wibbly-wobbly house,  myself.

Ship House by Lephilippe. A shrine in the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, in Osogbo, Osun state , Nigeria, by Alex Mazzeto. The Gobarau Minaret in Katsina, Katsina State, northern Nigeria by Derric Evans,

Blend the peanuts in a food processor until crumbled but not pasty (you might be able to do this in your blender, too, although I haven’t tried it).

Sprinkle on the remaining ingredients,  being sure to crumble up the bouillon cube. You know what to do with that goodness that gets stuck on your fingers.

Pulse until combined. For every pulse, send a little love into the universe.

Beautiful. Nibble some straight from the processor – enjoy its garlicky, gingery peanut glory.  If you want it spicier, add more cayenne and pulse one more time.

Now for the fun. Gather your skewers (presoak if using wooden ones). Slice your meat in long strips.

Thread the meat onto skewers and press the peanut mixture firmly into the meat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or several hours to let the flavors infuse the meat.

Cook on an oiled grill over medium heat to desired degree of tenderness. Be careful not to move these around too much – you don’t want to knock off the coating.

The aroma is amazing. Your entire neighborhood will come running. 

Share with good friends. Enjoy with a smile in your heart for Nigeria.

P.S. Have you entered to win this week’s giveaway?

*Perhaps she’ll one day come to life, like the Tardis as the Doctor’s Wife in Dr. Who.

Opt In Image
Hungry for more?
Be notified when National Geographic releases my memoir.

Simply fill in your details below.


  1. what kind of a face does AVA have on today?

  2. I know you don’t watch TV, but the Rachel Ray show this week had excellent tips on organizing the pantry. We should be back in the neighborhoood soon. But you know for someone who doesn’t like to cook so much, with the help of looking at your site, have come up with some interesting dishes and included Jassy in helping me.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I’m so happy to hear this, Ruby :) New combinations are such fun to try. This recipe is going to go into regular rotation, for sure.

  3. I really enjoy your blog and cooking adventures, but now, after you’ve mentioned Doctor Who and the Tardis, I like you even more :))
    Oh and the meal sounds awesome, peanuts are amazing on everything:))

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Excellent! Glad to meet another fan. As you know, bow ties are cool. ;)

      • Planning to try this with chicken, can’t wait.

        And how utterly cool that I’ve stumbled on a nest of Whovians! (I named a dog Gallifrey, once…)

  4. Brian S. says:

    As you cook these lovely kebabs, here’s some bouncy Nigerian music to get you going, from Fred Fisher Atalobhor and his Ogiza Dance Band.

    • Brian S. says:

      and don’t forget to read my comment on “About the food of Nigeria”!

      • Brian, I hope you will stick around until the “end”! Your comments are always a wonderful addition to this great Global Table.
        Thank you, Sasha, for all the work you do. I know I would have faltered a long time ago!

  5. elisa waller says:

    yum..i quess you cut the meat into those beautiful geometric strips? I wonder if the butcher can do that for you..I have the worst knives in the world…lol THis is great for the summer grill!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Absolutely – tell them you want your meat cut in long strips for satay like kebabs. (you can also have them do this with chicken). As an aside, I got all my knives sharpened for $25 last Christmas – something to look into – it makes such a difference :)

  6. I just made this for my Around the World themed party, and this was everyone’s favorite dish! (Everyone’s second favorite was the tabbouleh). I cut the beef into bite sized chunks rather than satay-style strips, but it still tasted great.

    I’m really enjoying the blog!

  7. Mmmmm lovely idea, I will try with cubes rather than strips, will be a lovely meal to cook over the safari campfire everyone will love the amazing aromas that those spices give off!

  8. Many thanks for the excellent write-up, I was searching for details similar to this, visiting visit the other posts.


  1. […] One of my favorite food blogs, Global Table Adventure, is slowly cooking it’s way through all the countries of the world. A great way to learn about and taste the flavors of other cultures! They just finished up Nigeria, and it looks amazing! […]

  2. […] suggestions: Nigerian Fried Rice goes great with hard-boiled eggs or Beef/Shrimp Suya. (We made that back when we cooked Nigeria). If you want to make a meal of only the rice, try adding a hefty dose of chopped cow liver or […]

  3. […] 3. Beef Suya | NIGERIA (Recipe) […]

Speak Your Mind