Chicken yassa! Yassa chicken! This delicious chicken is marinated in onions, lemon, mustard and spices, which tenderizes the chicken. The chicken also develops an amazing aroma and a tangy savoury flavour which tantalises the taste buds.
Yassa chicken is one of the most popular dishes to come out West Africa. Some people call it Senegalese or Gambian chicken, others call it by its French name, Poulet yassa. They all refer to the same delectable chicken dish which is a staple in the Gambia/Senegal region of West Africa.
This Senegalese chicken dish requires a lot of onions, but do not allow that to faze you. The onion’s sharpness is cut down by lemon and mustard. It becomes tender and develops an incredible flavour, almost like pickling the onions.
The traditional yassa chicken recipe involves marinating the chicken, grilling or frying to brown, caramelising the onions, then cooking the sauce to reduce it before adding the chicken back in. This process is long, but the levels of complex flavours developed is out of this world.
I have created a cheat recipe – marinate and just pop in the oven for the onions and the chicken to cook. This is more suited for my busy lifestyle; I can pop it in the oven after work; and get on with other things. The flavours of this easy are very close to the traditional dish which works perfectly for me.
I must confess, I had never cooked with mustard until I tried chicken yassa for the first time, but it gave such a nice kick to the recipe that I now use it more often in other dishes.
I served yassa chicken with roast potatoes, but this African stew is great with a lot of food. Try it on white rice, pasta, couscous – anything you’ll eat with a sauce really; and you’re good to go.
Remember this is easy yassa chicken recipe prepared in the oven, so the onions will not be as dark as recipes prepared in the traditional way. Therefore, the sauce has a lighter colour too, but this does not take away from the scrumptiousness of this dish.
How To Make Easy Yassa Chicken
This Senegalese chicken recipe requires planning as the flavour is developed from marinating the chicken in the onion and lemon mixture. You can marinate in the morning before you leave for work or even overnight. The longer the time, the better the taste.
Easy Yassa Chicken
- 4 Chicken breasts
- Salt a dash
- 2 Bay leaves
- 3 Onions medium sized, finely sliced
- 4 cloves Garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoons Mustard
- ¼ cup Oil
- 2 Lemons juiced
- 1 Scotch bonnet
- Rub some salt on chicken breasts.
- Place the chicken in a baking pan with all the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Cover baking the pan with foil and keep in the fridge overnight or for at least 4hrs.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan.
- Place the chicken in the oven still covered.
- Allow to cook for about 40 mins. Then remove the foil cover and place back for another 15 mins; so that the onions are starting to brown.
- Remove from heat and serve.