HomeLunchPoulet Yassa - Senegalese Chicken Recipe

Poulet Yassa – Senegalese Chicken Recipe

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Poulet Yassa – Senegalese Chicken Recipe

Poulet Yassa is a beloved dish from Senegal, characterized by its vibrant flavors and a perfect balance of tanginess and spice. This mouthwatering chicken recipe marinated in a zesty onion and lemon sauce is sure to transport your taste buds to the heart of West Africa. Let’s embark on this culinary adventure together!

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Ingredients You’ll Need:

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  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks
  • 4 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (adjust to your spice preference)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Cooked white rice, for serving


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  1. Marinate the Chicken:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken thighs and drumsticks with half of the minced garlic, half of the lemon juice, dried thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
    • Ensure the chicken pieces are well coated with the marinade.
    • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, allowing the flavors to infuse into the chicken.
  2. Prepare the Onion Marinade:
    • In another bowl, combine the thinly sliced onions, the remaining minced garlic, the rest of the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and vegetable oil.
    • Mix thoroughly to create the zesty onion marinade.
    • Add the bay leaves to the mixture for an extra layer of flavor.
  3. Sauté the Chicken:
    • Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or pan over medium-high heat.
    • Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, allowing any excess marinade to drip off.
    • Sear the chicken in the hot skillet until golden brown on both sides. This step helps lock in the juices and flavors.
  4. Simmer in the Onion Marinade:
    • Once the chicken is seared, remove it from the skillet and set it aside.
    • In the same skillet, add the zesty onion marinade.
    • Cook the onions over medium heat until they become translucent and slightly caramelized.
  5. Combine Chicken and Onions:
    • Return the seared chicken to the skillet, nestling it among the onions.
    • Cover the skillet and let everything simmer together over low heat for about 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and tender.
  6. Serve Poulet Yassa:
    • Serve the Poulet Yassa hot over a bed of cooked white rice.
    • Garnish with fresh herbs or lemon wedges for an extra burst of flavor.


Poulet Yassa is a delightful culinary journey through the flavors of Senegal. The tender chicken marinated in a zesty onion and lemon sauce creates a symphony of tastes that’s both comforting and exotic. This dish is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of West Africa and is sure to become a favorite in your own kitchen.


  1. Can I use boneless, skinless chicken for this recipe?
    • While bone-in, skin-on chicken is traditional and adds depth of flavor, you can use boneless, skinless chicken pieces for a quicker preparation.
  2. What’s the best way to adjust the spice level in Poulet Yassa?
    • To control the spiciness, you can increase or decrease the amount of cayenne pepper used in the marinade.
  3. Are there any traditional side dishes that pair well with Poulet Yassa?
    • Poulet Yassa is often served with rice or couscous. You can also enjoy it with a side of grilled vegetables or a simple salad.
  4. Can I prepare Poulet Yassa in advance?
    • Yes, Poulet Yassa can be made in advance and reheated. In fact, the flavors often deepen and improve when allowed to meld overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. Is there a vegetarian version of Yassa for non-meat eaters?
    • Absolutely! You can make a vegetarian Yassa using tofu or seitan instead of chicken. The key is in the flavorful onion and lemon marinade.

Source: lowcarbafrica.com

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