Kilishi A Nigerian Delicacy


Food & Beverages

Kilishi A Nigerian Delicacy

By James Ingram
March 2009

I first came across Kilishi about 2 years ago. I was on my way back from Abuja to Lagos. Upon arrival at the domestic airport, I was met by four or five salesmen clad in blue overalls trying to sell me these packages in brown paper wraps. My first instinct is to say NO to these rather aggressive salesmen. But for some unknown reasons, my curiosity got the better of me and I enquired what the content of the brown paper was. I was told it was Kilishi a meat product. I knew of Suya, but never Kilishi. I bought one N300 package to get a taste and I was hooked.

Kilishi is a meat product of the tropics, prepared from sun-dried lean beef infused with spices and defatted groundnut paste. Kilishi is produced in Nigeria and other arid or semi-arid zones of West Africa. Kilishi has been described as one of Nigeria’s national specialties and a delicacy and is produced the way nature intends with no chemicals or preservatives using fresh market ingredients.

Kilishi is a tropical intermediate moisture meat product that is prepared essentially from beef slices, infused in slurry of defatted groundnut paste and spices and then sun-dried. The ability of the product to keep for several months at room temperature is fast making the product a house-hold name. Kilishi is enjoyed by both young and old.

How it is made

Kilishi is a product obtained from sliced lean muscles of beef, goat meat or lamb and is made on a large scale under the hot and dry weather conditions prevailing from February to May. Kilishi is produced by sun-drying thin slices of meat and consist of the following steps.

Meat preparation

Connective tissue and adhering fatty material are trimmed off the meat which is cut with a curved knife into thin slices along the fibre axis of each portion giving very thin slices of about 2mm thickness in continuous sheets.

Traditionally, the slices of meat are spread on papyrus mats on elevated platforms or tables in the sun for drying. Also easily washable corrosion-free wire nets or plastic nets are used for horizontal drying.

Drying:  Drying is done in two stages in stage one, the pieces of sliced meat are sun-dried for 7 hours. This could span over one or two days depending on the relative humidity, intensity of the and air velocity. The meat slices are turned over every hour to allow for even drying and to prevent them from getting stuck to the drying surface. The partly dried slices are then put into an infusion containing Ginger, Cloves, Black pepper, Red pepper, Sweet pepper, Alligator pe pper, Onion, Garlic, African nutmeg, Curry, Salt, Maggi seasoning, Sugar, defatted Groundnut paste and water.

The slices absorb the infusion and swell up to three times their original weight. After infusion, the wet sliced meat is again exposed to the sun for second stage of drying. Drying at this stage is much faster than at the first stage taking only about two to three hours depending on weather conditions and the thickness of the slices.

Roasting: After drying, the slices are finally roasted over a glowing fire for about five minutes. The roasting process helps to enhance the flavor. Storage and Packaging: Kilishi is then stored at room temperature. When packaged in low-density plastic bags the product is known to remain remarkably stable at room temperature for a period of about one year.

Kilishi is delicious when eaten as a snack and also with beverage drinks. I particularly like the chewy spiced meat with a nice cold bottle of beer. So here’s to everyone who has never tried Kilishi and all those who have and continue to enjoy the delicacy wishing you lots of excitement as you enjoy this amazing product with the occasional glass of beer, favorite soft drinks, or just as in-between meal snack.      


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