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Suya Popcorn Chicken

What to do with suya spice? That was the question. After all the sweat and grind trying to find the ingredients, I wasn’t really feeling a ‘suya kebab’, as I decided to call them. I’m also trying to stave off red meat. Except lamb, she says in her head. Clearly still a big struggle for me.

So I hunted around the internet and found this fun recipe by Ajoke – Suya Popcorn Chicken. I have adapted Ajoke’s recipe a bit to bring out more of the crispy light texture we love from popcorn chicken.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the key to crispy chicken pieces, is not flour, or even the batter, its cornstarch. A little goes a long way (for more on the science of good fried chicken see here).

So let me waste no more time, ladies and gentleman I present to you: Suya Popcorn Chicken!


Chicken pieces marinating suya spices…

Suya Popcorn Chicken

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



400g Diced Chicken Breast

5 tbsp homemade Suya Spice paste

juice of 1 lemon or lime

2 1/2 cups of plain flour

1/2 cup corn starch

pinch of Salt and pepper (for the flour coating)

1 tbsp dried mixed herbs

2 cups of buttermilk

1 egg

Oil (frying)

Chilli Flakes (garnish)



  1. Cut the diced chicken pieces into halves they should be a bit bigger than a thumbnail.
  2. Clean the chicken with half the lime and some extra salt, rinse and drain off the water.
  3. Pour the remainder of the lime over the chicken with the suya paste and rub it into the chicken with your hands. (This is a paste as opposed to a powder because I used fresh ginger, garlic and onion which I minced before adding to the remaining ground spices).
  4. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 1 – 2 hours or longer.
  5. In the meantime prepare a 3 bowls: i) half the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper and herbs ii) remaining plain flour iii) buttermilk and egg  whisked
  6. Start to heat oil in a deep pot (about 1/2 full) keep to a medium/high heat.
  7. Take 4-5 pieces of chicken and toss it into bowls in the following order: i) plain flour ii) buttermilk iii) seasoned flour. Place on a separate plate to give the chicken bites time to bind with the coating before carefully placing them in the oil.
  8. The chicken should instantly float to the top, turn them after 1 minute to create an even coating, remove with a slotted spoon after 2 1/2 – 3 minutes.
  9. You can transfer the cooked pieces to kitchen towel initially to remove the excess oil. However I find placing the cooked pieces on a cooling rack (with kitchen towel underneath them) keeps it crispy as air can still pass through them— no soggy bottoms round here.


  1. Pingback: 16 Nigerian Recipes Everyone Needs To Try – List Stories

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