Suya, where have you been all my life? Suya is a grilled and skewered meat dish in many parts of West Africa, including Nigeria. These chicken suya are abundantly flecked with crushed peanuts and spices, adding a wonderful texture and layer of heat.
I often cook suya on a cast iron grill but an outdoor charcoal grill will of course be more flavorful. They make a delicious appetizer served alone, or you can serve them with rice for a filling entree.
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 inch peeled ginger
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup canola oil
salt and pepper
20 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
1. In a food processor, pulse the peanuts until finely chopped. Add the ginger, garlic, bouillon cube, paprika, onion powder and cayenne and pulse until a coarse and crumbly mixture forms. Spread the peanut mixture on a large plate.
2. Rub the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Thread the chicken onto the skewers and press into the peanut mixture to coat both sides. Arrange the skewers on a plate. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
3. In a cast iron grill pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cook the chicken in batches over moderate heat, turning carefully, until deep golden and the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken. Serve warm.
I can’t attest to the authenticity of these savory pastries, which are called brik in Tunisia, briouat in Morocco and burak in Algeria. I doubt that egg roll wrappers are used to make these in North Africa, but they work perfectly well in this version, encasing a spicy filling of tuna and runny egg yolk. The trick is to make sure you fry the pastries just long enough – too little and the egg white will be undercooked, too long and the egg yolk will harden.
1 tablespoon oil, plus more for deep frying
1/2 onion, chopped
12 ounces canned tuna, drained and flaked
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
8 sheets egg roll wrappers
1. In a medium pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Saute the onion until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer onions to a large bowl. Mix in the tuna, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, cayenne pepper and capers.
2. Place equal parts of tuna filling on each egg roll wrapper, spoon a depression into the filling, and break an egg into each depression. Carefully fold the top and bottom of the wrapper over the filling, then fold over right and left sides.
3. In a frying pan, heat two inches of oil to medium-high heat. Deep-fry the pastries in batches until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes for each side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve warm.