Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Paleo ~~~
Suya or tsire (also known as chichinga in Ghana) is a Nigerian street food. The traditional recipe uses roasted peanuts to marinate the meat, but since peanuts are a legume and legumes are not allowed on paleo, I substituted roasted cashews which also gives it a wonderful flavor. On the other hand if you do eat peanuts, feel free to substitute them for the cashews and know that you are having an even more authentic version. Speaking of authentic versions, although 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne sounds pretty spicy, the truth of the matter is most of the other recipes I looked at used at least 1 teaspoon cayenne – so feel free to increase the cayenne significantly (or decrease it if you are not fond of spicy). Also, you do not have to limit yourself to beef for these skewers; they would be equally good with chicken, lamb, pork, shrimp, or even goat.
Now you might ask yourself how does a die hard New Yorker, who barely leaves her neighborhood, know of a Nigerian street food? Good question. I can’t imagine that I dreamed up the word Suya (or tsire or chichinga) and googled it, nor do I think I googled Nigerian street food – so how did I get there? I don’t know, but I do know an interesting recipe when I see one and since I’ve been stuck at home with a cold and cough I had time to look for something that piqued my interest. When I found Suya it struck just the right cord as I generally like to eat really spicy foods when I have a cold because:
a) they are the only thing I can still taste
b) cayenne is excellent to relieve coughs (my home remedy cough medicine starts with 1/4 cup red pepper flakes)
c) I had a defrosted steak and had to figure out something to do with it
So however I got to this recipe I can assure you it was a lucky (and delicious) find. The salad is completely my own addition – I think spicy food goes so well with light and crunchy salads – and this truly is a dynamic duo (or if you add a beer it would make this a terrific trio).