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Ashleigh Shanti's Stewed Chicken Suya and Rice Ashleigh Shanti's Stewed Chicken Suya and Rice

Ashleigh Shanti's Stewed Chicken Suya and Rice

Chef Ashleigh Shanti has made a name for herself in Asheville, NC as well as the culinary world by honoring African-American culinary traditions in Southern food with her Sankofa approach to cooking. The term Sankofa in Twi means “go back and get it” - a theme that can be found throughout Shanti's Southern Appalachia style of cooking: “integrating new food techniques and methods, while looking back to history to reclaim lost and forgotten traditions.” Learn more about Ashleigh Shanti and find a collection of her recipes here. Follow her on IG for tasty food inspo and keep up with what Shanti does next!   

Suya, also known as yaji, is a nutty, warm spice blend typically used as a marinade for a popular African street food.  Here, suya spiced chicken is stewed until tender. Pounded peanuts and coconut milk meet to create a velvety, rich sauce that is served with rice.


1 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
2 chicken leg quarters 
2 tsp grapeseed oil
2 tsp salt, divided
1 yellow onion, large dice
2 poblano peppers, large dice
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup rice, rinsed
Juice of a lime
Cilantro for garnish

For the suya:

1 Tbsp Spicewalla Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Spicewalla Ground Ginger
1 tsp Spicewalla Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Spicewalla Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Spicewalla Crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp Spicewalla Ground Green Cardamom

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1. Assemble your suya spices and mix evenly. 

2. With a mortar and pestle pound peanuts into a chunky paste. 

3. Stir just half of the spice mixture into the pounded nuts and set aside.

4. Season chicken evenly with the remaining 1/2 of your suya spice and 1 tsp salt (these steps can be done a day ahead). 

5. In a heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven heat grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. 

6. Add seasoned leg quarters to pan and sear both sides for 4-5 minutes, until skin is golden brown. 

7. Remove from pan and set aside. 

8. Add onions and peppers to pan and sauté for 4 minutes over medium heat, until vegetables brown. 

9. Add rice and butter to the pan and toss to coat. 

10. After rice has toasted and is fragrant, add remaining tsp of salt, chicken stock, coconut milk and the nut mixture. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Bring heat to low, add chicken thighs and cover. 

11. Stew for 25-30 minutes, until rice and chicken are cooked through. 

12. To serve, spoon a helping a rice onto a plate with chicken on top. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice and torn cilantro.   

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