I'm in a generous mood and decided to share my super secret Nigerian suya spice recipe with you. Ok, it's not super secret but it is truly quite perfect. Suya spice, also called yaji or suya pepper is a staple in West African cuisine. It is typically used to marinate grilled meat skewers, known as suya, which is one of the most well-known Nigerian street foods. As a Nigerian-American, I'm inclined to think that ours is the best but will admit that suya spice blends vary a bit from person to person even in Nigeria. My recipe was developed off of taste-testing trial and error and has the ultimate seal of approval in that my dad asked me "Where did you buy this suya? It's really nice!" I won't get into how to make suya today but that's a natural next step so be on the lookout. For now, let's get into my homemade suya spice recipe.
You should try these Nigerian recipes, too.
What is in Suya Spice?
Wondering what suya spice tastes like? Suya spice is a smoky, nutty, spicy blend that imparts delectable, savory umami flavor to whatever you season it with. It can be used as a rub or made into a paste. If you've ever wanted to make an African spice blend at home, you're in the right place. Here's what you'll need to make suya spice mix.
- Crushed Bouillon Cubes (preferably Maggi cubes)
- Finely Ground Roasted Groundnut (Peanut powder also works in a pinch)
- Garlic Powder
- Ground Ginger
- Hot Red Pepper (Cayenne Works)
- Onion Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- White Pepper
You can use suya spice to season suya, of course, but just about any kind of meat or veggies would be made better by this spicy mix. I love rubbing it on grilled ribs and even on roasted brussels sprouts. Add this suya spice recipe to your rotation for grilling, roasting, and sautéing. The options are nearly endless!
Tips for Making your Own Suya Mix
- What tools do I need to make yaji spice? You'll need a blender, coffee grinder, or food processor to grind the groundut or peanuts. If you have a mortar and pestle to crush the bouillon cubes, grab that. Otherwise, I have tips below on how to get it done without.
- Can I make suya spice without peanuts? Simply put, no. You can't make authentic suya spice without peanuts as the roasted peanut (or groundnut) is key to the flavor profile. If you have an allergy or aversion to peanuts, you can try cashews or almonds. Just note that the flavor will not be the same.
- How to store suya spice. Store your homemade suya blend in an airtight container in a cool place. You can store it in the fridge safely. It keeps for at least three weeks.
How to Crush Bouillon by Hand
This suya pepper recipe calls for crushed Maggi cubes and I know you're probably wondering whether it really matters what kind of cubes are used or even if you can just skip to powdered bouillon. To answer that, yes, you can technically use any brand of bouillon (beef or chicken works), cubed or powdered. Crushed bouillon of the Maggi brand will yield the truest flavor, though. Here are a few tips on that, including how to crush bouillon cube without a mortar and pestle.
- Reduced sodium bouillon cubes tend to crush more easily. You can just add salt back during the cooking process, if you take this route.
- Using a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder to crush the cubes will be easiest. But if you don't have either, the back of a wooden spoon and a deep glass will also work well. Just crush the cubes one at a time.
If you have any questions about how to make suya spice mix at home, just let me know in the comments below. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this homemade suya pepper recipe on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
Homemade Nigerian Suya Spice Mix
Fiery, nutty, smoky West African spice blend that tastes great on anything savory
- 1 cup roasted groundnut or peanuts
- 1 tablespoon crushed Maggi cubes about 3 cubes
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 ½ tablespoon hot red pepper cayenne pepper works well
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon white pepper
Grind peanuts in a blender, coffee grinder or food processor for about 30 seconds, pausing and checking the texture as you go so that it does not over-blend and become a paste.
Combine ground nuts with remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mix until uniform (about two minutes).
Store unused spice in an airtight container away from heat. Refrigerated is fine.