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+ servings
5 from 3 votes
Senegalese Chicken Yassa
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
55 mins

This Poulet Yassa also called Chicken Yassa is chicken cooked in caramelized onions - one of West Africa's favorite dishes! Perfect with boiled rice for dinner. 

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: African
Keyword: Poulet Yassa
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 480 kcal
Author: Precious Nkeih of preciouscore.com
  • 2 pounds chicken (1 kg) I used chicken thighs
  • 4 large onions - thinly sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper or black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons bouillon powder see Note 2
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 habanero pepper optional - use more or less hot pepper depending on heat tolerance
  • 7 tablespoons oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Marinate the chicken. Rinse chicken thoroughly and pat dry. Place in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, onions, garlic, salt, black or white pepper, chicken bouillon powder (if using), red pepper flakes or poked habanero pepper (if using). Mix everything together to combine. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  2. Grill or pan-fry the chicken. Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off the excess marinade. Place on a grill and oiled grill pan or just an oiled skillet and cook on each side for about 4 minutes until it assumes a nice sear. 

  3. Caramelize the onions. Heat oil in a pan. Remove onions from the marinade and add to the oil and let it cook slowly on medium heat while stirring from time to time until the onions shrink and become slightly darker in color. About 20 minutes.

  4. Add the chicken to the onions and the remaining marinade, the bay leaves and a cup of water to the caramelized onions then cook for about 20 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Taste to ensure seasoning is perfect. Serve over white rice.

Recipe Notes

1. Red pepper flakes or habanero pepper (or scotch bonnet pepper) will add a bit of heat to your Chicken Yassa. You can omit them if you do not like heat. If using habanero or scotch bonnet, prick the pepper with a fork and add to the marinade then discard before adding the marinade to the pot.

2. I find that chicken bouillon powder adds more flavor to this meal. If you can't use chicken bouillon powder, simply adjust the quantity of salt to taste and add some more ground black or white pepper.