Suya street tacos are a delicious fusion of Nigerian flavor and Mexican format that you can make in under 45 minutes. Thanks to Water Grows for sponsoring this recipe and showing me around local Texas farms that make it possible.
It has been especially important to me to eat in a balanced and intentional way lately and, since I cook most of my own meals, marrying simplicity and creativity is key! So this quick suya taco recipe has been the star of my at-home lunches lately. I could eat them almost daily and be content because they're simple yet so good. And I feel even better enjoying them since I've gotten a firsthand look at how the ingredients they're made from is grown right here in Texas. Keep scrolling past the street taco recipe card below for photos and highlights from my tour of Texas corn, cotton, rice, and catfish producers just about an hour from my home!
Looking for more Nigerian fusion recipes? Try these next.
What You'll Need for this Recipe
These homemade street tacos start with my beef suya recipe. Suya is a classic Nigerian street food typically made from beef (ram, goat or cow) or chicken marinated in yaji spice all day then grilled over an open flame. With this recipe, I'll give you a couple of shortcuts to capture this flavor in your own kitchen. Here's what to add to your grocery list.
As far as tools, you will need a cutting board and a sharp knife, too.
Can I Make Suya in a Frying Pan?
Suya is traditionally grilled over an open flame but I don't always feel like firing up the grill. You can actually make suya inside your kitchen in one of two ways. The first method is to roast directly on the oven rack, which is how I like to make my suya shrimp kabobs. And the second way is to use a good grill pan. Cooking suya on stove top is easy this way. It delivers beautiful grill marks and cleans up nicely every time.
How do you Marinate Meat for Suya?
As I mentioned, suya meat is traditionally marinated in yaji and oil all day long. The method presented here is a suya shortcut for when you don't have that kind of time. I've found that you can get great flavor in as little as 30 minutes of marinating and add additional yaji over top at the end, if needed. Add the yaji, meat, and a bit of avocado oil to an airtight food container or zip-top bag and toss and shake to evenly coat the meat. Then cover and transfer to the fridge for at least 30 minutes. If you have more time, let it sit even longer.
Tips for this Recipe
Can I prep this recipe ahead of time? Absolutely! Suya tacos are great for meal prep. Cut up and store your produce in airtight food containers so that it's ready to go and cook and store the beef, as well. Then all you have to do is heat and assemble when you're ready to eat.
Can I make street tacos with flour tortillas? The short answer is no. While flour tortillas are great for burritos and quesadillas, authentic street tacos call for corn tortillas. And thanks to sustainable corn farming practices, we can find them in abundance at local grocery stores. Texas corn producers supply the key ingredient for corn tortillas across the country.
How to heat up corn tortillas? You can easily heat corn tortillas in a hot skillet with a bit of oil for just about one minute per side. Another simple way that will give you a little char (which I personally like), is to place one tortilla at a time directly onto the stove burner over low flame. Just as with the skillet method, flip after a minute or so and transfer the cooked corn tortillas to a tortilla keeper so that they stay warm and soft.
More Suya Recipes to Try
Yaji spice complements a variety of proteins and even vegetables. Here are a few more ways to use it in your kitchen and out on the grill.
- Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Grilled Baby Back Ribs
- My Homemade Yaji (aka Suya Spice)
- Oven Cooked Shrimp Kabobs
How to Serve Suya Tacos
As a street food, the classic ways to serve suya are on skewers, with tomato, onion, lime, and sometimes lettuce on sheets of newspaper. For even more flavor, sprinkle additional yaji spice over top. Similarly, street tacos are often garnished with fresh diced or sliced onion and wedges of lime for juice. These African street tacos marry both presentations with fresh onion, tomato, lime juice, and extra yaji for a little razzle dazzle.
Make this a full meal with complementary Mexican and Nigerian staple dishes.
Now that you know how to make tacos with suya, I hope you add them to your mealtime rotation very soon. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this Nigerian Mexican fusion recipe and follow me on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
Beef Suya Street Taco Recipe
Suya Street Tacos
- 1 pound beef sirloin
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2-3 tablespoons yaji spice plus more for garnish
- sea salt to taste
- ½ onion diced
- 1 plum or Roma tomato sliced
- 2 limes cut into wedges
- 16 corn tortillas
- Cut sirloin into one to 1 ½-inch chunks. Add to a large mixing bowl or zipper seal bag with one tablespoon avocado oil and yaji spice. Toss and mix to evenly coat beef in spice and oil then cover and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare your produce: Dice the onion, slice the tomato, and cut the limes into wedges. Set aside.
- Remove tortillas from packaging and warm them over open flame, in a skillet, or per package directions. Place warmed tortillas in the oven or a tortilla keeper to maintain their texture and temperature until ready to use.
- Place a grill pan over medium-high flame and add remaining tablespoon of avocado oil to the pan and allow it to heat for about two minutes. Lift the pan by its handle and turn gently to coat the surface with oil as it heats.
- Remove the marinated beef from the fridge and place directly onto the preheated grill pan, leaving about one inch between each piece of meat. It may be necessary to cook the meat in batches so as to avoid crowding.
- Allow beef to cook untouched for up to two minutes then flip over and repeat on the other side. Remove from heat. Taste test one piece of meat and salt to the whole batch, if needed.
- To assemble each suya taco, layer two corn tortillas then fill with about 6-8 pieces of cooked beef. Garnish with diced onions and more yaji spice. Repeat process until all ingredients are used. Serve wth tomato slices and squeeze fresh lime juice over top. Makes about eight tacos.
From Field to Fork
This dish made with Nigerian beef suya was inspired by a recent day trip spent touring Texas farms in and around El Campo, TX, sponsored by Water Grows. I learned so much about how local farmers take care of not only the crops that make it into our kitchens but also the land that yields it. Farmers are the ultimate conservationists as they care for the land that grows their crops each year hoping to leave it better for future generations.
On this trip, the fields of golden corn caught my eye in particular, and I was able to make a connection between this abundant, versatile crop and not only the corn tortillas in this recipe but also the quality sirloin beef. Corn doesn't only feed and fuel us humans. It provides feed for cattle, as well!
The Field to Fork experience concluded with a farm-to-table meal showcasing the local bounty from Texas growers and producers of everything from beef to wine and fresh vegetables. I'm so thankful to have gotten the chance to get intimately acquainted with my food, where it comes from, and the people that make it happen!