This Mushroom Suya is Apartment Stovetop Friendly and will Wow the Crowd at Your Next Event
Suya is a big part of Nigerian culture. Expats make it an even bigger deal by raving about the need to eat it during their Christmas time visits. Suya is Nigerian street food, often found in the most random streets at night. One night a suya stand may be there, another night it is not. Without a doubt, suya is a dish that provides just enough spice, just enough texture, and all-around good flavors. Unfortunately, if you're eating plant-based suya impossible to enjoy... Enter the oyster mushroom.
🌶 The Traditional Suya
Suya as mentioned above is a big part of the nightlife in Nigeria, however, it is ubiquitous to most of West Africa. The dish is traditionally made with thinly sliced beef, ram, or chicken that is roasted over an open fire. The roasted meat is then coated with the suya spice that consists of crushed peanuts like kuli-kuli, salt, cayenne, ginger, and more. Suya is typically served with raw onions and tomatoes.
Often times, suya will be cooked on a stick, this is great for rationing and making sure that each customer will get the same amount that they paid for. In more relaxed settings, suya is usually piled high on a plate with a toothpick on the side to allow the person enjoying to include a piece of onion and tomato with each bite.
The grills are usually propped up near night clubs and high traffic areas at night. Suya makers tend to start setting up "shop" at nightfall and can operate into the early morning. Suya can be found at restaurants in Nigeria, however, the experience of buying street food is to haggle for more meat and watching the food be made in front of you and have it be served on a piece of the day's newspaper to soak up the excess oils.
🍄 The Plant-Based Adaptation
Mushroom is the first produce that I think about when it comes to substituting meat. Oyster mushrooms specifically, is a great substitute due to its texture and its ability to soak up the flavors that your add to it, which is why it will be used to make our vegan mushroom suya.
Suya spice - though relatively easy to make, can be found online and at local African markets. With Suya being a popular dish across West African and well known around the world, you can most likely be able to find it if you search hard enough.
I purchased mine from Gold Coast, a Ghanaian owned African Market, in the Bronx. I got a pound of suya spice for under $10.00. I recommend purchasing it online if you're having difficulty finding it in store.
For our mushroom suya, we're going to adapt it further by using a cast-iron skillet or a grill pan that you can easily place on your stove, perfect for apartment dwellers like me. If you have a grill, by all means, be my guest, just lay down aluminum foil and be sure to tend to your mushrooms often.
Oyster mushrooms hold a lot of water, so be mindful of that as you grill. Squeeze your mushrooms after washing and salting to remove excess water. Allow your mushrooms to fully brown and dry out. Additionally, I like to shred the mushrooms to create more pieces from one stem.
🥡 Storing & Reheating
This dish is best served immediately - however if you find that you would like to reheat your mushroom suya, you can heat it over medium-high heat with an extra dash of suya spice.
💭 Top Tips
- Squeeze out excess water from your oyster mushrooms before grilling
- Fry your mushrooms in batches, try not to overcrowd your pan
- For extra peanut taste, mix equal parts peanut butter and suya spice, and add that over the oyster mushrooms just as they begin to brown
- Serve with suya spice on the side for those who want more flavor and heat
- 1 lb of oyster mushrooms
- ½ tsp of salt
- 4 oz of suya spice
- 1 medium Roma tomato, roughly sliced
- ½ yellow or red onion, roughly sliced
- Vegetable oil for grilling
- Remove the base from the stems of your oyster mushrooms and rinse
- Shred mushrooms or separate it to create more bitesize pieces
- Heat 2 tbs of oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat
- Add your mushrooms in batches, making sure not to overcrowd your pan
- Fry and turn constantly until your mushrooms begin to brown and shrink, about 7-10 minutes
- Add a tsp of suya and fry for an additional 3 minutes
- Remove from heat and serve immediately with sliced tomato and onion
Serve with toothpicks for easy bitesize picking