Yaji - Suya Spice Blend

August 25, 2018
Photo by Kitchen Butterfly
Author Notes

Smoky, nutty, spicy - this delicious blend of nuts and spices defines Nigeria's most popular street food - suya.

Suya spice, or yaji named after a 14th century muslim ruler from the north of Nigeria was traditionally used as a dry rub on skewers sold as street food.

It is to Nigeria what Berbere is to Ethiopia, Ras el Hanout to Morocco, Garam masala is to parts of India and is featured in my award-winning suya swordfish recipe,

You could also start off with a peanut butter base - a smoky variety/ toasted one would work really well. You will end up with a paste but it will in no way impact the deliciousness.

Traditional Nigerian recipes are made with kuli kuli, peanut cake/ cracker which has been ground to paste, had the oil pressed out by a process of ‘wetting’ so it doesn’t go rancid, fried till hard for preservation and then ground to make a powder.

Combined with spices and other aromatics, yaji is beautiful with meats, roasted vegetables, sauces (think nutty, coconutty bases) and in vinagrettes.

If you aren't a peanut lover, sub with cashews/ almonds/ ground pumpkin seeds. Lime and cilantro, though not traditional accompaniments work really well.

Think about pulled meats to stuff tacos/ burritos, toppings for salads, curries and sauces and stews - the list is endless! —Kitchen Butterfly

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Makes about a cup
  • 1/2 cup groundnut powder or ground kulikuli (Nigerian peanut crackers)
  • 2 tablespoons ginger powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground grains of selim (pod), optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cubeb pepper, optional
In This Recipe
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a jar. Shake well to combine.
  2. Store in an airtight container – refrigerated or in the freezer.
  3. Use liberally to coat meats, other proteins, vegetables before grilling or baking. Add to sauces, carb dishes. Incorporate into dips and sauces for a kick. Make vinagrettes with honey or other sweeteners, add to compound fact do every and any with this. Did I mention sprinkle on French toast or in waffle bater?

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For the first 9 years of my life I hated food and really loved sugar till Wimpy (British Fast Food chain) changed my life! These days, all grown up, I've junked junk food and spend my days and nights on a quest - to find and share the sweet, sweet nectar that's food in The #NewNigerianKitchen! Dreaming, cooking, eating and writing...about and adoring a strong food community that's big and bold enough to embrace the world's diverse cuisines - I'm passionate about celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety. Why do I love food so? It is forgiving. Make a recipe. Have it go bad....but wake up tomorrow and you can have another go at succeeding! Only with food!