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How to Make Yassa Poulet (Chicken Yassa), a Senegalese Favorite

Guest Blogger: David Silberberg, Program Assistant at the Illinois Study Abroad Office

While studying abroad in Senegal, I had my fair share of Thieboudienne, the country’s national dish made with fish, rice, vegetables, and seasoning. My favorite Senegalese dish, though, was Yassa Poulet (or Chicken Yassa), made with a whole chicken, lots of onions, and served over rice or couscous. Luckily, this is something that is not too difficult to make at home! My personal favorite recipe included smoking the chicken, but luckily for college students, using an oven and a pan works as well. Since meals in Senegal are traditionally eaten in large groups, this recipe will serve 6 people.


The Chickens have to come from somewhere! Here are the chickens raised by my host family in Diourbel, Senegal

To start, you will need:

-One frier chicken that weighs about 2.5 to 3.5 pounds
-3 lemons to juice
-3-4 whole onions, sliced thinly
-1 carrot, chopped
-Salt and pepper
-5 tablespoons of peanut oil (or another cooking oil)
-1 hot red chili pepper, chopped
-White rice
-1/2 cup of water

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 2.22.14 PM

Use plenty of onions!

Start by cutting the chicken into pieces and marinading in the lemon juice, salt and pepper, 4 tablespoons of oil, onions, and chili pepper for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Remove the chicken, saving the marinade, and place in your oven after it has been pre-heating on broil. Briefly broil on the top rack, browning lightly on both sides (be careful not to overcook!)

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 2.21.15 PM

Remove the onions from your marinade and add to a pan (large enough to fit all your ingredients) with the remaining oil. After the onions are tender, add the remainder of your marinade and, when hot, add the pieces of chicken, the chopped carrot, and the 1/2 cup of water. Simmer the contents of the pan for about 20 minutes on low-heat, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Place in a platter over white rice, and enjoy!


Bon Appetit

-College student kitchen-friendly recipe taken with help from:

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