I first came across this dish when a Gambian friend of mine served it a dinner party a few years ago and I must confess I was completely taken. Before dinner was over, I made sure I bagged the recipe, in addition to a full belly.
When I later saw the amount of onions the recipe called for, I thought it was a mistake and rang up for confirmation. Indeed, the recipe does call for that number of onions, but trust me, you will be rewarded for your efforts. This dish is deceptively easy to make, so again, right up my street!. First you tenderise the chicken by marinating in lemon juice overnight, and traditionally, you would char-grill the chicken over an open fire, and then simmer the sauce to perfection after caramelising the onions.
I marinated my chicken for 4 hours which worked but if you are resourceful enough to plan ahead, do marinate overnight. It is well worth it! I had to substitute charcoal grilling with oven grilling and I have to say it tasted just as good as my friends’ authentic recipe. I found the sauce a bit “lemony” but the hubby thought the flavours were just right. If you do find it a tad too lemony, you might want to add a wee-bit of sugar to balance out the lemon flavour.
I also dialled up the heat factor as the original recipe called for 1 chilli pepper. I ended up using 2 chilli peppers but be guided by your palate. I got one enthusiastic thumbs up when the meal was served - from hubby, who asked for seconds. My 6-year old daughter was not too impressed, but no hard feelings…6-year olds are a tough bunch to please anyway.
Anyhoo, let me know what you think..Does this dish tick your boxes?
Senegalese Poulet Yassa
2 x fillet of chicken breast
4 onions (peeled and chopped)
30g ginger root (peeled and grated)
1 or 2 chilli peppers
2 cloves of garlic
2 large lemons or 3 medium-sized lemons
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
1 stock cube
In a glass bowl, combine the chicken, onions, garlic, ginger, and chilli peppers. Squeeze the lemon juices into the bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil into the mix. Mix until all the ingredients are coated in the lemon and oil. Leave to marinate for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Grill the chicken for 20 - 25 minutes, and then transfer to a hot plate, Cover with foil and keep warm.
Drain the juices from the onion mix and set aside. Add 0.5 tablespoon of olive oil into a pan and when hot, sauté the onions until caramelised. Add the juices you had set aside to the pan, and some water, and a stock cube or chicken stock. Cover and allow to simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
In the last 10 minutes of simmering, leave the pan uncovered so that the sauce reduces to a thicker consistency. Taste the sauce and add 1 tablespoon of sugar if the sauce is too lemony for your liking.
In the last 5 minutes of cooking, transfer the chicken to the pan to simmer in the sauce before serving.
Serve with rice
Calories - 381, Total Fat - 14.5g, Protein - 35.2g, Carbohydrate - 34.6g