Heady spices, spikes of chili and rich peanuts, all ground to a fine powder. It’s the defining flavor of suya, Nigeria’s iconic streetside grilled beef kebabs. And it’s a flavor so intensely delicious—thickly coating the meat, charring wonderfully—that the skewers typically are eaten on the spot and blazing hot.

Turns out, this irresistible spice blend works wonders on foods beyond beef skewers—including vegetables.

For Evi Aki, the Los Angeles-­based author of the cookbook “Flavors of Africa,” suya evokes memories of family road trips through Nigeria. On pit stops during the five-hour drive from Lagos to her grandparents’ village, “There’s tons of vendors grilling suya, calling you over,” she says. “That’s probably one of my favorite memories, just seeing all the meat on the grill—and the smells.”

Back in the States, Aki likes to experiment with suya, which she always makes in large batches. “It has a kick to it, but it’s also got an earthy and nutty taste to it as well, which is why I think it goes so well on a lot of different things,” she says. Recently, she discovered that the spice blend is fantastic with potatoes, which she likes to air-fry after coating them with her own custom suya spice blend spiked with incendiary African red pepper.

When it comes to suya, “There’s really not one true recipe,” Aki says. “It comes from northern Nigeria, where they typically use different spice blends than you might see in south Nigeria, but it just really depends.” But the common ingredient is always peanuts, which gives suya seasoning an “almost meaty” quality, she notes.

Intrigued by the possibilities, we tried her idea of suya seasoning on potatoes and found that it was equally excellent on oven-roasted halves of Yukon Gold or red potatoes, transforming the tuber with its savory complexity. For a bit of heat, our spice blend includes ginger, black pepper and hot paprika (though we found that sweet paprika makes for a perfectly tasty milder option).

A food processor made assembly of the suya seasoning a breeze. Though suya typically is a powder, adding a bit of oil produces a paste that adheres nicely to skin-­on potatoes.

A dish this savory also needs fresh, bright flavors to balance it. In Nigeria, suya skewers come with an essential side of chopped tomatoes and onion. As a nod to that pairing, we accompany our suya potatoes with a refreshing tomato-shallot relish to spoon over the top, or even use for dipping.