West Africa has the king of kebabs called suya or kyinkyinga (chichinga). Learn how to make kyinkyinga spice (tankora or yaji spice) in this post. You will love the change it brings to your sirloin kebabs. I am a post which supports my blogging efforts, with Amazon affiliate links 😁.
I developed a recipe for kyinkyinga spice on The Spruce Eats several years ago. It wasn’t ages ago, but I am glad to say things have come a long way since then. What I knew back then was that peanuts were involved in this spice blend. At the time I remember having to roast them, grind then, but not too much as they turn into peanut butter. So I crushed them, then used as much weight as I could to remove the oil from them. It wasn’t perfect though, but the effort was worth it just to get something close enough.
Kyinkyinga Spices in Ghana and Nigeria
Being Ghanaian and knowing where to find the best kyinkyinga in Accra, I am not one to mess with this thing, the spice. Now that I live in Nigeria I am pleasantly surprised. There are so many positives to be gained from living in a country with so many recognized ethnic groups. Every region has its version of yaji spice. Some use more indigenous spices such as uziza (Ashanti pepper/piper guinense) and uda pods, others use many from the Sub Asian continent.
Discovery and Learning About The Kyinkyinga Spice
As for me, I have shared before how I accidentally discovered the spice even had peanuts in it. I was making biltong stew with a hint of peanut butter. When the peanut butter and warmed up biltong met, the air filled with this familiar aroma and I made the connecting. I have looked at other recipes and methods since that time. Fran Osseo Asare (author of the Ghana Cookbook) has an in-depth description of tankora spice, in fact I learned the name from her. The good news about that method is that peanut powder is widely available these days, so I would use that instead and save up all the drama I went through to make it here.
When I first published a recipe on how to make kyinkyinga spice (tankora or yaji spice), I believe there were 3 or 4 essential ingredients in suya spice. Peanuts, cayenne pepper, ginger and salt. I however cannot ignore the distinct truth I smelled in the biltong and peanut fusion. So I looked at what might have been int he biltong. Coriander is a very common spice. I would add it to my spice mix. , however, there are variations to making this spice. To make suya spice at home, you will need the following ingredients.
1/2 a cup of Peanut Powder (my old recipe called for 1 cup of roasted peanuts)
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (Or more, like a tablespoon)
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 chicken stock cube (the reduced salt version as it crumbles very well)
A pinch each of ground cloves and allspice
Salt (to taste
Blend all these spices and peanut powder together. Then store in an airtight jar. Learn how to pull it all together to make kyinkyinga here and how you can pair it for a perfect summer bbq here.