Suya Swordfish

July 16, 2010
5 Ratings
  • Prep time 6 hours
  • Cook time 9 minutes
  • Serves 2-4
Author Notes

This is an adaptation of a Nigerian peanut marinade, which is commonly spread over meat, skewered and then cooked over hot coals/firewood. We call it suya and it is popular streetfood - the kind of thing Nigerians in diaspora miss when they're away from home! - Kitchen Butterfly

Want to hear more about Nigerian food? On our new podcast Counterjam—a show that explores culture through food and music—host Peter J. Kim talks dodo, jollof, egusi, and more with comedian Ego Nwodim and Afrobeat pioneers Femi and Made Kuti—check out the episode here. Kitchen Butterfly

Test Kitchen Notes

Swordfish's meaty taste and texture take to grilling beautifully. Kitchen Butterfly's peanut marinade enhances the partnership, cloaking each strip of fish in a spicy, tangy, mildly sweet sauce that caramelizes gently on the grill, lending a mild smokiness. Using homemade peanut butter is a nice touch, and a spritz of fresh lime juice before eating is a must. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Suya Swordfish
  • 400g swordfish steak, cut into 8 long thick strips
  • Portion of peanut butter, recipe below
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper
  • 1teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 -2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Thinly sliced red onions, tomatoes, lime halves and coriander leaves, to serve
  • Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, skinned
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Suya Swordfish
  2. Make the peanut paste by combining peanut butter, paprika, chili pepper, salt, ground ginger and lime juice.
  3. Stir well and taste. Adjust spices as necessary
  4. Place fish strips in a large bowl and pour peanut sauce over it, then using your hands, mix well ensuring the pieces are coated with the sauce.
  5. Leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight.
  6. When ready to cook, prepare the bbq and let the coals heat up till fiery red.
  7. Then pass (soaked wooden) skewers through each piece of swordfish, and place on an oiled rack. Let cook for 5-6 minutes on one side, then flip over and let the other side cook for 2-3 minutes. If not ready, remove to part of grill where heat is indirect and let cook till ready.
  8. Serve with thinly sliced red onions, sliced cherry tomatoes, lime halves and coriander leaves
  1. Peanut Butter
  2. In a blender or food processor, grind the peanuts till they are crushed. The ground nuts will stick to the sides of the mixing container, so using a spatula, loosen bits from the bottom and round the sides.
  3. Then add oil, drizzling in along with a pinch of salt, blending till you get a 'thick cream' consistency.
  4. Use as directed above.
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I love food and I'm interested in making space for little-heard voices, as well as celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety.

64 Reviews

Chris L. July 29, 2023
I don’t think I ever commented before, but I have really loved your site- It is one I come back to again and again. Informative food content, Beautiful food Images. I love your content and all the best to you. Also, you can visit this website : for more article about food
allison December 2, 2020
What is Chili Pepper, I assume that is not the same as Chili Powder. I do have McCormick brand " Ancho Chile Pepper" in my pantry.
BigK October 11, 2020
I’m definitely going to make this again! The fish was very flavorful from the marinade paste but not overly so. The pairing with tomato and red onion is excellent.
Slimjim July 19, 2017
I bought swordfish and scoured the internet for the recipe and yours came up. I cooked it last night, it was very mouthwatery flavorful! Thank you for sharing.

I cooked it over the pan in high heat, and it peanut burned one side, but the burnt came right off. The taste was very good, but my execution needs some help.
kitten B. June 3, 2015
How dare you bastardize my cultures finest gourmet cuisine. I want reparations.
Kitchen B. May 7, 2017
Loool, that's a joke right?
Because this is my culture... but yes, speak away :)
JanetRoss November 6, 2014
I made this with center-cut 1" thick swordfish steaks grilled to perfection for 4 minutes per side and served it with basmati and grilled asparagus.
Kitchen B. May 7, 2017
Yay. I'm glad
Effie July 17, 2013
I so wanted to make this and didn't have swordfish, but I had shrimp.....Perfection.
Kitchen B. August 1, 2013
Yay. Glad it worked out!
Jennifer P. March 12, 2013
What sides would you suggest with this?
Kitchen B. August 1, 2013
Sorry Jennifer - this is great with steamed rice, and tomato salsa (with cilantro). 5 months apologies
G1G1626 May 21, 2011
Okay whoa! Fish + Peanut Butter - NO WAY!
Kitchen B. June 7, 2011
Strange but true Gigi1626....they work a treat.
Emi March 16, 2011
made this last night with boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooking them under the broiler
so complex and delicious, thank you!
Kitchen B. June 7, 2011
Thanks Em - glad you enjoyed it!
Skl February 14, 2013
Hi - what kind of chili pepper did you use? A hot or mild one? I'm making this right now. Also my peanut butter came out a little soupy, is that ok? Thanks!
Skl February 14, 2013
Wait now I'm wondering if you meant chili POWDER?
Amaka September 18, 2010
Love this website

MyCommunalTable July 29, 2010
Congratulations! Keep inspiring! I have a son that is half Nigerian and I am always looking for ways to show him his culture. The pictures on your blog were fun for him to look at.
Kitchen B. July 29, 2010
:-), thank you and I'm glad he liked the photos on my blog - In fact since I began blogging I wish I could go back to Nigeria with my new eyes and taste buds for food!
EmilyNunn July 28, 2010
Way to go, KB! Looking forward to having this for dinner soon.
cucinettaNYC July 28, 2010
Congratulations Kitchen Butterfly!
Kitchen B. July 28, 2010
Oh my WORD - I am excited beyond belief to reach a food52 final and win. If I could do cartwheels, I would ....a bit too heavy :-). Thank you everyone
lapadia July 28, 2010
I love it!!! Congratulations!!!
dymnyno July 28, 2010
Congratulations!!! You really deserved this win...a great recipe.
Sagegreen July 28, 2010
Congrats! Wonderfully done.
drbabs July 28, 2010
Congratulations, KB!
nannydeb July 28, 2010
Congratulations on a well deserved win!