I had a great score at my local African grocery when I was looking for some sorghum leaves to try ayimolou – sitting next to them was a jar of suya spice imported from Togo!
Suya is a spice mix found all over West Africa, it’s a dry rub that’s usually a mix of ground peanuts, hot chilies, and other flavourings like garlic and ginger. This jar is from Togolese brand Delice D’Afrique, and while it doesn’t list it’s full ingredients, it seems to be more heavy on the hot chilies in the mix, and maybe something smokey and nutmeg-ish? I’m going to try it as a dry rub it on some chicken, done up in a pan with a bit of onion and bell pepper.
To go with the chicken, I’m going to have it with a side of another West African staple – ayimolou (also known as waakye in Ghana). Ayimolou is rice and beans (specifically black eyed peas), cooked with red sorghum leaves for extra colour and flavour. I’m going to do a smaller version of this recipe from Togolese cooking channel Cuisine 228.
This is a colourful lunch! The sorghum turns the water a beautiful wine colour, and adds a purple tinge to the white beans and rice. The chicken is bold and spicy with a bit of a smokey barbecue flavour – the suya has also turned it bright orange (so likely lots of turmeric in this mix). The ayimolou has a subtle herbal flavour and has cooked up nicely, it really complements the fiery chicken. Comparatively quick and really easy!