Chicken Yassa, Senegal.

Today is so hot outside that I feel like cooking a popular African dish, to match my mood with the weather. The “big meal” version of the dish includes extra vegetables such as cabbage and carrots, but I opted for the simplest, yet tasty, pure version of Chicken Yassa, from Senegal, for a delightful African World Food Challenge.

Chicken Yassa is a lemon and onions based chicken dish, in which the intensity of flavors is adjusted by putting more or less of an interesting spices blend, mustard, hot red pepper and ground black pepper.

Traditionnally, Chicken Yassa is cooked in big quantities, and is served with rice or couscous, cooked apart. In my opinion, it’s better to decide right now what starchy food will complete your meal, because once cooked, it is advised to combine the rice with the meat and the sauce to mix all the flavors. Which meeeeeans you can cook Chicken Yassa now and eat it right away OR you can cook it now, freeze it, and eat it later, for example at work for lunch the week or the month after ! In that case, I recommend to let cool the chicken after it’s cooked, shred it, put it in individual foil tins, cover it up with the cooking juices and lemon slices, seal the foil tins and put in the freezer (for a maximum of 3 months, so don’t forget to label your dish with the date of the day !).

Now the recipe !!

Chicken Yassa Senegal

Ingredients (for 4 portions) :

  • 8 small to medium chicken thighs
  • 4 big onions (the more the tastier)
  • 4 tbsp of sunflower oïl
  • 4 lemons (yellow)
  • 2 tbsp of hot French mustard (Dijon)
  • 1 tbsp of spices blend including paprika, cumin and Cayenne pepper flakes
  • 2 cubes of dehydrated Chicken stock
  • 2 dried hot red peppers
  • Salt and ground black Pepper to taste

Directions :

  • Prepare the marinade : in a big salad bowl, mix the oïl with mustard, sliced onions, salt and pepper, then squeeze 2 of the lemons, pour the juice over, and combine it all.
  • Put the chicken thighs in the marinade, and carefully combine till all chicken pieces are covered with the marinade. Don’t hesitate to do it by hand if necessary. Put in the fridge for at least 3 hours, the whole night is even better.
  • Cook the rice or couscous when starting the second step.
  • In a very large cooking pot, or better in a large iron cast pot, cook the chicken thighs skin-on on high heat until they all start to brown. Take them out (keep the cooking juices) and put in the onions from the marinade. Cook for 10 mn on low to medium heat.
  • Put the chicken back in, pour the rest of the marinade, add the hot red peppers, the spices blend, the 2 cubes, and cover up with water. The chicken pieces must be totally immersed Under the water.
  • Cook for about 45 minutes on medium heat, and stir occasionnally.
  • Combine the meat and the rice with a lot of juice before serving. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look good, it just tastes great !!!

Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi, © 2015 All Rights Reserved.

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