Kilishi - A Nigerian Jerky Delight!

Kilishi - A Nigerian Jerky Delight

My first taste of Kilishi, a form of jerky popular with people of Northern Nigeria, was when I was in secondary school. My aunt who is married to a Naval officer and who lived in Kaduna, had brought some with her when she visited us in Lagos.

The taste was amazing, so different from what we had eaten before. The chewy texture of the meat along with the tastes and flavours of the spices and groundnuts used in making it, felt divine. We all scrambled for more and before we could close our eyes and open them, it was all gone.

Everyone including the young and the old enjoyed snacking on Kilishi and we always looked forward to my aunt's visits with the hope that she would being more of "the hot stuff".

Y'see, there is a lot of meat (cattle) in the North and most of their diet is based on meat and meat products. And they have some exceptional meat snacks. Example of course is the Kilishi and the others are Dambu Nama (get recipe here) and the very very popular Suya. Even Jamie Oliver has given Suya a try...!

Kilishi Shards served on a bed of Sliced Ugu

How it's Made
The process of making Kilishi is quite a tedious one, not one I can easily replicate in my kitchen, so am not even going to attempt it, cause I know its never going to be like the real thing.

Kilishi can be made from beef, lamb or goat meat. It is a product of thinly sliced and trimmed meat which is spread on mat to dry in the sun. There are apparently two stages of drying...

First stage: the meat is trimmed of all fat and tendons and thinly sliced into sheet like spread. This is then layed out on a large surface area and left out in the hot sun (up to 45 Celsius) for about 7 hours, to dry.

Second stage: the partially dried meat is then spiced up in a wonderful combination of different herbs and spices, kuliluli, peanut oil, seasoning and water. The meat is allowed to marinate in the spice/herbs mixture thereby soaking up all the wonderful flavours. The meat is then placed back on the mats and allowed to dry under the sun for a further 4 -7 hours

Final stage: The dried meat pieces are then roasted over glowing embers for a few minutes. This process is part of the flavour development/enhancement. During this final stage, the spices and seasonings blossom into something delicious! After about 5-10 minutes the meat is removes and allowed to cool. Done and ready to eat. In this form the meat can last several weeks.

Kilishi pieces sprinkled over Salad

Kilishi is enjoyed as a snack and its quite common to find some served at recreational spots with cold beverages.

Kilishi has grown in popularity across Nigeria and even in the UK. I have seen several brands of it in popular African shops in the UK and supermarkets in Lagos. well packaged and properly labelled. I have my favourite brand which I love to stock up in my freezer. They come in very handy when you have to whip something up really quickly.....they are a little like crispy bacon. You can add then to a myriad of things!

I have found new uses for Kilishi
  1. I cut them up into shards or crumbs and sprinkle over a salad
  2. They can be served as a starter with a cold drink while guest wait for the main course

How do you eat yours?

Kilishi Shards served as a starter



  1. I love Suya, and this looks delicious too. I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

    1. Diane, you would love kilishi. Its really moreish, and has a chewy texture and a taste similar to suya....

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Can u pls name a shop in london that stock kilishi. .I ve serched and serched, no luck

    1. Hi Okopi, I would suggest Ades Cash and Carry in South East London.....I believe they stock from time to time depending on the demand for the stuff...good luck.



Follow Us