A traditional chicken dish from the Casamance region of Senegal, Poulet Yassa (Yassa Chicken ), is one of the most famous African recipes and is found in Senegalese restaurants the world over. For best results let the chicken marinate overnight; in Africa, this is essential to tenderize the sometimes tougher African fowl. It is also very good when made with fish, see: Poisson Yassa. For the simplest yassa, make the marinade from just oil, lemon juice, onions, and a little mustard.
Serves 4 to 6
1/2 cup peanut oil (or any cooking oil)
one chicken, cut into serving-sized pieces
4 to 6 onions, sliced
8 Tablespoons lemon juice
8 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
4 cloves minced garlic
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons Arome Maggi® sauce or soy sauce
1 chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
1 small cabbage, cut into chunks
2 carrots, cut into chunks
One day before: Cut the onions into thin slices. To make the marinade, combine onions, mustard, lemon juice, chile pepper, salt, and pepper in a large non-metallic bowl. Place the pieces of chicken into the marinade, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate over night for the best results.
The next day, remove the chicken from the marinade. Reserve the marinade to make the sauce.
Cook the chicken using on the following methods:
- Cooking method 1: Grill chicken over a charcoal fire (or bake
it in a hot oven preheated to 375 F) until chicken is lightly browned but not done.
- Cooking method 2: Sauté chicken for a few minutes on each side in hot oil in a cast iron skillet.
While chicken is browning, remove onions from marinade and sauté them in a large Dutch oven until translucent. Add the reserved marinade and the vegetables and bring to a slow boil and cook at a boil for ten minutes. Next, add the chicken to the sauce, cover and simmer over medium heat until chicken is tender, about 30-40 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
To serve, spoon the vegetables into a soup platter and top with the chicken and ladle the sauce over the chicken.
This dish is also best served with sides like rice, couscous or fufu. For a more authenitc meal, Yassa Chicken is also served with ginger beer or green tea with mint with or after the meal.
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