Calicutts' Nigerian Suya always raises eyebrows with questionable stares, especially when we tell customers that the primary ingredient is peanut flour. However, the Suya spice blend is often used in Nigeria on street food - think kabobs, meat skewers, and more. So, we went on a little virtual adventure to discover more about how it is used in these dishes and how we could put our spin on this flavorful spice blend. Our travels soon turned to southern cuisine, which is heavily influenced by African flavors, including shrimp and grits.
This recipe is our version of shrimp and grits with a Nigerian twist - fresh shrimp seasoned in Calicutts' Nigerian Suya and cooked in bacon fat served with bacon, pineapple, and green onions over a bed of creamy, cheesy grits.
Nigerian Suya Shrimp and Grits
3½ cups Water
¼ tsp Salt
1 C Grits, not instant
6 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
4 Green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 Tbsp Butter
4 slices Bacon
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 lb Shrimp, raw, medium size, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp Calicutts' Nigerian Suya Spice Blend
2 C Pineapple, fresh and cut into chunks
Black pepper, to taste
Cook grits. In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil. Add salt and slowly whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low and constantly whisk, making sure grits are smooth. Stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and half of the green onion, half of the butter, and some black pepper.
Cook bacon. Place bacon flat in a room-temperature medium skillet. Turn burner on to a medium-low heat. When the bacon starts to buckle and curl, flip and cook on the other side until the bacon browns evenly. Remove from pan and turn off burner and reserve about 1 Tbsp of the grease to cook the shrimp.
Cook shrimp. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and season with Nigerian Suya Spice Blend. Place the skillet you used for the bacon over high heat. Add half the shrimp to the pan and sear on one side for 2-3 minutes; flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Set aside and repeat with remaining shrimp. All shrimp should be white with some pink and red accents. No translucent gray should remain.
In the same skillet, add pineapple and heat until they start to turn a rich yellow color. Add shrimp and chopped bacon to skillet to reheat for a minute or two, stirring a few times.
To plate, scoop 1/4 of grits into a bowl and top with 1/4 of shrimp mixture. Garnish with green onions and enjoy!