This page may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link. This post is about the Senegalese dish called Chicken Yassa!
1,000 FOODS TO EAT PROJECT
I am working my way through the foods that are listed in the book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die by Mimi Sheraton. This is called my 1,000 Foods to Eat Project. This Senegalese dish called Chicken Yassa (or Poulet Yassa) is part of food #51 in my Project!
In this book, the author Mimi Sheraton lists her choice for the 1,000 Foods of the World that you MUST try. Senegalese Chicken Yassa definitely belongs on everyone's table it is absolutely delicious!
Please note: this is not food #51, but it is part the "Dinner in Senegal" section of the book. This section lists several Senegalese dishes which I look forward to experiencing as "food #51" and sharing here with you!
What Is Chicken Yassa?
Chicken Yassa, or Poulet Yassa, is one of the most popular dishes in Senegal and all of West Africa! This dish comes from the Casamance region of Senegal. It is influenced by French cuisine, as France had occupied Senegal for many years.
My version of this most amazing dish combines chicken along with sweet caramelized onions, fiery Scotch bonnet peppers, and tangy lemon juice. Just imagine these flavors all coming together with moist and delicious chicken, which is marinated overnight for increased depth of flavor!
The Method To Make A Most Delicious Poulet Yassa!
It's super simple to make a most delicious Poulet Yassa! The hardest part is caramelizing the onions...but even that is not difficult and just requires some patience. 😃
You begin by making a simple marinade which consists of the following ingredients:
- Thinly sliced onions
- Sliced Scotch bonnet peppers (I like to add at least 2 to make it fiery hot!)
- Lemon juice (for tang!)
- Olive oil
Then add thinly sliced chicken breasts to the marinade and allow to marinate overnight.
The next day you simply start by removing the chicken from the marinade and brown both sides.
Please note: for a more authentic and flavorful dish, it is recommended to grill this chicken over a charcoal grill! I am browning the chicken in my skillet for easier preparation.
Next, set the chicken aside and add the marinade to the skillet. This is where we need to exercise some patience.😊. It's time to caramelize the onions, which may take around 20 minutes or longer. You'll need to keep an eye on the onions and stir from time to time until you get them a nice brown color.
Now, we add the chicken back to the onions, along with some chicken broth. Simmer for around 10 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Your Sunny and Delicious Senegalese Chicken Yassa is now ready to serve!
What To Serve With Senegalese Chicken Yassa
Chicken Yassa is best served with heaps of white rice! Place the chicken on top of the rice, and then add heaps of the delicious onion mixture. Garnish with green onions if you like! One taste and you will understand why this is one of the most popular dishes in all of West Africa!
Enjoy Dinner in Senegal by dining on Poulet Yassa!
Some Other Dishes You May Enjoy!
If you'd like to come along on this food journey with me, please sign up to get the latest recipes and inspiration for you to expand your food comfort zone! It's an incredible journey, please join me by signing up here. 🙂
Senegalese Chicken Yassa
- cast iron pan is recommended or large skillet
- grill (if you prefer to grill the chicken rather than pan fry)
- 1 lb chicken breasts thin cut; if you have thick chicken breasts, you can slice them yourself to make them thin
- 2 onions sliced thinly
- 1-2 Scotch bonnet peppers sliced; you can add more if you like things spicy!
- 1 lemon juiced
- 4 tablespoon olive oil split
- 1 inch ginger peeled and minced
- 2-3 ts garlic minced
- ½-1 cup chicken broth
- 1 ts salt
- 1 ts pepper
- green onions optional chopped for garnish
- Combine the following marinade ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag: 2 tablespoon olive oil, the thinly sliced onions, Scotch bonnet peppers, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and massage the marinade to make sure these ingredients are well combined. Add the chicken breasts, and then massage the bag again to make sure the chicken is completely covered by the marinade. Leave overnight in your refrigerator.
- Heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in your cast iron pan or skillet on med high heat. Once hot, remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, and brown both sides, approximately 2-3 minutes each side. Set the chicken to the side. PLEASE NOTE: FOR BETTER FLAVOR YOU CAN GRILL THE CHICKEN PIECES ON YOUR CHARCOAL GRILL!
- Keep the heat on med high for now and add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Add the rest of the contents of the bag (the marinade) to your skillet. You are aiming to caramelize the onions which should take around 20 minutes or so. After around 3-5 minutes, you can lower the heat to medium. During this process, stir every so often and keep an eye on the onions. You want them to brown, but not burn. If the mixture is getting too dry, you can add a little more olive oil.
- Once the onions are caramelized, return the chicken to the skillet, and add 1 cup of chicken broth. Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for around 10 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
- Your glorious Chicken Yassa is now ready to serve!