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poulet yassa recipe

Yassa chicken - African Chicken Stew

Chicken Yassa or poulet yassa - a Senegalese chicken stew with tender chicken and caramelized onions.
Course African Recipes
Cuisine African
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 804kcal
Author Adina


  • Marinade:
  • 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs onions about 5
  • 125 ml/ 4.2 fl.oz/ ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 60 ml/ 2 fl.oz/ ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons hot mustard I used Dijon mustard
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ -1 habanero/ Scotch bonnet See note 1
  • Stew:
  • 4-6 whole chicken legs depending on size (See note 2)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 125 ml/ 4.2 fl.oz/ ½ cup chicken stock See note 3
  • fine sea salt and pepper



  • Halve the onions and slice the halves. Set aside.
  • Mix the fresh lemon juice, oil, mustard, grated garlic cloves, bay leaves, and salt together. Halve and deseed the chili and add it to the marinade.
  • Add the sliced onions to the marinade.
  • Cut the chicken legs at the joint (if using whole chicken legs) dividing them into thighs and drumsticks.
  • Place half of the onions in a large glass casserole dish (or another large non-metallic container, large enough to hold the chicken and the onions).
  • Place the chicken on top and cover with the rest of the onions. Cover the dish with cling film/plastic foil and refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours.

Chicken stew:

  • Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.
  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan. Fry the chicken on both sides until golden, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan. Remove the habanero/ Scotch bonnet from the marinade and discard it.
  • Place the onions and the marinade in the pot and cook the onions for about 5 minutes.
  • Cover the pot and continue cooking the onions for about 15-20 minutes or until the onions are soft and start to caramelize.
  • Return the chicken to the pot, making a place for it between the onions, turn it a couple of times into the sauce to coat, and add the chicken stock.
  • Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook the chicken for about 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
  • If you stick a toothpick into the thickest part of the chicken thigh the juices should run clear. If the juices are still pink, continue cooking the stew, checking again from time to time until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Serve with rice.



  1. If you cannot get hold of the habanero/ Scotch bonnet you can replace it with regular chili peppers to taste. Keep in mind that habanero/ Scotch bonnet are very hot, so adjust the quantity used according to your taste.
  2. Whole chicken legs are commonly sold in Germany. I usually divide them at the joint before cooking. You can also use only chicken thighs, or a mixture of chicken thighs and bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Use 4 or 6 depending on how large the chicken legs are, in Germany the size can differ very much, depending on where you buy the chicken.
  3. You can use chicken stock made from a stock cube. Common for African food is the use of Maggi stock cubes.


Serving: 1/4 of the dish | Calories: 804kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 67g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 34g | Cholesterol: 329mg | Sodium: 812mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 14g