Enjoy the flavours of West Africa with this one-pan dish
This Senegalese Chicken yassa, will become a new family favourite.
- SERVES: 4 – 6
- PREP TIME: 30 mins + 24 hrs marinating (or 2 hours before cooking)
- COOK TIME: 45 mins
- DIFFICULTY: pretty easy
- IDEAL FOR: family, sharing, crowd-pleaser
I came across this recipe in the latest Delicious Magazine.
And it looked so good, I thought I’d give it a go.
At first, I thought it has too many ingredients.
But don’t be put off.
It’s not complicated and some ingredients are repeated for both a marinade and a sauce.
A Senegalese favourite
Chicken Yassa is a popular dish across West Africa.
It’s got caramelised onions, tangy lemon, a nice kick of chilli and a little kick of mustard.
And it all works perfectly together, nothing (including the chilli) is over-powering.
It’s a simple dish and made even more simple if you can marinate the chicken the night before.
And if you also make the sauce the evening before.
Then all you have to do is cook the chicken and put it all together on the day.
I went for this approach last week as we’re busy working during the day.
And in the early evenings, we’re building and landscaping wildcomfort.
So the last thing I feel like doing is spending too much time fussing in the kitchen
And having a really late meal.
So, I can recommend this wonderful Senegalese one-pan national dish.
What is Senegalese cuisine
The food in West Africa is a fusion of influences from France, Portugal, and the Middle East.
But also ethnic groups, like the Islamic, Wolof, who were first in the region the in the 11th century.
The French settled in Senegal from 1659 until 1960 and the official language is French then Wolof.
This is why Yassa chicken utilises different ingredients from different cultures..
Traditional food from Senegal is made for sharing.
People gather around a hearty, fragrant dish and enjoy it together.
4 tips for making a great chicken yassa poulet
Marinate the chicken and onion
- Leave the chicken to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight is even better.
- This gives the chicken a deeper flavour.
Brown the chicken
- Brown the chicken on both sides.
- Don’t rush, you want the skin to be nicely browned and crispy.
Caramelise the onions
- Again, don’t rush this.
- It should take approx.. 10 mins and be careful not to burn the onions.
- Add the browned chicken to the cooked-down onions together with the leftover marinade and chicken stock.
For a one-pan dish with a big kick of chilli, check this out.
Marinade (make 2 hrs before or a day before if possible)
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- handful of flatleaf parsley
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 zest of lemon and juice
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
Sauce (you can make this a day before)
- 3 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 3 onions, sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 lime juice (or 2 lemon)
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 300 ml quality chicken stock
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 scotch bonnet pierced and left whole Substitute chilli flakes or a Habanero Chilli Pepper, Cayenne Pepper Powder or a Jalapeno Chilli Pepper
- clear honey to taste
- Parsley to serve
- Cut the skin of chicken pieces in a diagonal, then rub salt into them and place in a wide dish.
- Take all the marinade ingredients (except the oil) and whizz them in a food processor until you make a paste.Tip the paste into the chicken, add the 2 tbsp of oil and massage all over the chicken. Cover and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
- Bring the chicken to room temp., drizzle with some oil and grill (skin side up) until you get a nice brown/char on the chicken pieces. (Hang on to any remaining marinade).
Sauce (can be made the day before)
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the chopped onion. Cook for 10 – 15 mins until caramalised. You can add any leftover marinade partway through ad sprinkle some sea salt over.
- Add the red pepper and cook for 5 mins, then stir in the garlic for another 2 mins.Add the lime/lemon juice, mustard, thyme, bay leaf and scotch bonnet and pour in the stock.Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
- Add the chicken (skin side up) ensuring the chicken is nestled into the sauce.Cover and simmer for 20 mins or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Check for seasoning and use the honey to adjust if the sauce is too tart.Sprinkle with parsley and serve with rice, couscous or green beans.