Suya Yaji Spice

Suya Yaji Spice
Suya Yaji Spice
Suya Yaji Spice Suya Yaji Spice
SKU
101109 001
$6.92
Net Weight:
3.6 oz
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What Is Yaji Spice

Yaji Spice (pronounced “yaa-gee"), is also called yaji, suya yaji, or suya seasoning.

Yaji Spice is a dry peanut-based spice rub used to season beef before grilling. Suya (pronounced "sue-ya"), a beef kabob, is one of the most popular Nigerian street foods, and the famous blend that goes on it can be called either yaji or suya.

In Nigeria, you're likely to find as many suya stands on the corners as you would find Starbucks shops in the United States. Suya is a cheap, accessible food, even for the poorest citizens of Nigeria, meaning its popularity hasn't waned much since it showed up on the scene, and every day more stands, or mai suya, are popping up. This food is often cited as a unifying part of Nigerian culture, which is otherwise often quite tumultuous and divided. Suya is the national dish of Nigeria, and while different regions of the country claim to have the original recipe, it is most likely that this dish began in the northern part of the country.


 

What Does Yaji Spice Taste Like

Nutty, spicy, and smoky, with onion and garlic undertones.


 

What Is Yaji Spice Used For

You can use Yaji Spice on suya of course, or kebabs of any kind really, but it is also useful for adding a peanutty, smoky flavor to sauces, soups, and stews.

Add this spice blend to softened butter to make a yaji butter that can be spread on toast, muffins, baked potatoes, or butternut squash. It can also be used for grilled shrimp or sturdy vegetables, like cauliflower, corn, or zucchini. This blend goes beautifully with roasted Brussels sprouts; dust them lightly with Yaji Spice and roast until crisp and brown. Add to a batter for fried food; try it on fried pickles! Toss it over plantains fresh out of the grill pan. Mix this into waffle batter, particularly if you’re making a savory dish like chicken and waffles. It’s a great garnish for pureed soups, like butternut squash. The smokiness of this blend is especially delicious with grilled pineapple or grilled peaches, and it makes out-of-this-world popcorn.


 

The History of Yaji Spice

Most food historians attribute the origination of Suya to pastoral nomads such as the Hausa tribes of northern Nigeria, Cameroon, southern Niger, Ghana, and Sudan. Spiced meat was grilled on bamboo skewers or their daggers over a campfire to make the first versions of Suya. In Hausa, Suya means to fry1.

In Nigeria, it is called Suya. In Cameroon, it is called Soya. In Ghana, it is called Chinchinga or Sitsinga. Yaji refers to the seasoning mix, which typically includes ground peanuts, salt, pepper, paprika, and chili pepper. The flavor is complex, and the aroma is strong but pleasant. Heat levels vary depending on the cook, but the depth of flavor is consistent2.

Like Mole in Mexico, Suya has been called a unifying factor in Nigeria3 and has become the national dish with different regions claiming that their recipes and preparation methods are superior.

While some restaurants offer Suya on the menu, nothing beats the taste of Suya from a Mai Suya (a Suya seller)4 as throughout Nigeria, Suya has been a favorite street food for decades. The Suya men, rarely is it done by women, are called Mallams and these men are skillful in the art and spice of meat preparation5 and they are typically Hausas from Northern Nigeria. There is no standard recipe to produce the complex mixture of spices which make up the Suya and the spice mix served with it6. The flavor is complex, and the aroma pleasant, but strong. Heat levels and spiciness vary depending on the cook, but the flavor is the draw that will make you overeat if you’re not careful7. The meat is often marinated for several hours and seems to be one of the best-kept secrets of Hausas Mallams8.

Yaji is believed by some in Nigeria to be an aphrodisiac9, in these households it is not uncommon to have two different versions of this blend - one for the parents and a second, milder version for the children and guests to eat. When ordering Suya, those who crave extra spice will ask for some Yaji on the side. This side of Yaji is extra helpings of dried pepper mixed with spices and sliced onions. It is an excellent condiment and goes well with rice noodles and anything that needs a kick10.



 

IngredientsPeanuts, sea salt, paprika, cayenne, garlic, ginger, and onion
Also CalledYaji, suya yaji, or suya seasoning
Recommended UsesKebobs, sauces, soups, and stews
Flavor ProfileNutty, spicy, and smoky, with onion and garlic undertones
CuisineAfrican, Middle Eastern
How To StoreAirtight container in a cool, dark place
Shelf Life6-12 months
Country of OriginUSA
Dietary PreferencesGluten Free, Non-GMO
AllergensPeanuts

 

 

Hungry for More Information

African Spices and Seasonings
The Culinary Regions of African Cuisine
Global Grilling Habits
How Well Do You Know Your Chiles

 

 

References

1 Bhandari, G. S. (2018, September 18). Sold on Suya in Nigeria. National Geographic Traveller. Retrieved March 7, 2022.

2, 7 Ragoonanan, N. (2022, January 11). Suya. 196 Flavors. Retrieved March 7, 2022.

3 Ekanem, E. O. (1998). The street food trade in Africa: safety and socio-environmental issues. Food Control, 9(4), 211–215.

4, 8, 10 Abdulkareem, F. (2017b, February 23). A Brief History of Suya, West Africa’s Answer to Shish Kebab. Culture Trip. Retrieved March 6, 2022

5 T. (2017, April 12). Talking About Suya, Nigerian Streetfood. Teakisi. Retrieved March 6, 2022.

6 Okhuebor, S., & Izevbuwa, O. (2020). A REVIEW OF STREET GRILLED MEAT (SUYA) IN BENIN CITY, NIGERIA: A POTENTIAL PUBLIC HEALTH RISK.Bacterial Empire, 3(3), 58–61.

9 Memudu, A. E., & Duru, F. I. (2021). A Comparative study on the effects of Yaji (Suya Meat sauce) and its spice constituents on the male reproductive profile of adult male Sprague Dawley rats. JBRA Assisted Reproduction.
 

 

 

 

4.4 out of 5
8 total ratings.

Ana G. (Verified buyer) 05/02/2022
Suya Pepper LOVE it, on my popcorn

jensen a. (Verified buyer) 02/17/2022
Well packaged and arrived on Well packaged and arrived on time . Still to use but tasted like yaji back home. Will surely be back for more .

Lisa W. (Verified buyer) 10/07/2021
Spice I've used other suya spices. This was the best by far. Plan on purchasing more.

Jeffrey W. (Verified buyer) 05/09/2021
Another keeper! Have made this twice now. Good way to get veggie in as well. But be careful experimenting with the amount of spices. It can get hot.

Tiffany W. (Verified buyer) 11/10/2020
Spicy Not sure how to use it yet but have added it to curry and veg for a little kick.

Matthew S. (Verified buyer) 02/06/2020
Suya Yaji Spice I got this spice mix for my lounge. The guests wanted Suya on the menu and I did some research for some Suya spices. Before I give my review on the spice I want to say that Spices Inc. has one of the best customer services. I had a problem with our first order and they took care of my needs immediately. Very grateful for that. As for the spices. This Suya mix is very good. I give it 5 stars for the right flavors. A lot of places sell Suya mix. It’s not authentic. The one from Spices Inc is good enough that my Cameroon & Nigerian guests tell me that the Suya is very good. I will be purchasing this Suya mix from Spices inc from now on. Thank you to the employees who assisted me. Chef Matt

Regina L. (Verified buyer) 12/27/2020
Mild but tasty This spice blend has a hint Caribbean and spice. Mild flavor and not too salty. Used on chicken sauté for a quick flavor. Used in salad dressing that sits for a minute.

Presh 06/21/2020
Not Authentic! Not even spicy! Please understand this spice is not even remotely close to Yaji. It’s over salted and not even remotely spiced/spicy. I hosted an event served to my guest (majority Nigerian) to review. Every single person agreed it wasn’t even comparable to the Yaji spice I bring from Nigeria and it was over salted. I’m Nigerian and I don’t approve this spice at all. 😖
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