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Senegalese Chicken Yassa (Poulet Yassa Recipe)

Senegalese Chicken Yassa on a large teal plate.
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Marinated tender boneless and skinless chicken thighs with sweet, salty and citrusy sauce is something universally accepted as delicious! We believe every chicken-lover should taste this Senegalese Chicken Yassa recipe for a chicken dinner with a bit of a difference! With a whole lot of caramelised onions, olives and peanut butter stock, this is certainly a new and exciting combination to try!

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What Is Chicken Yassa?

Chicken Yassa, also known as Poulet Yassa, is one of the most popular traditional West African chicken dishes. Tipically made with bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks, caramelized onions, lemon and mustard, this African chicken recipe is simply bursting with flavour. Especailly popular in Senegal and Gambia, Yassa is sometimes made with lamb or fish, but Poulet (French for chicken) Yassa is by far the most common in the region.

Senegalee chicken thighs on caramelised onions and rice on a teal plate.

What Does Chicken Yassa Taste Like?

If I was to describe the dish, I’d say it tastes almost… French. Made with Dijon mustard, lots of caramelised onions and parsley, it isn’t too surprising. Senegalese Chicken Yassa has elements of both Poulet Provencal and Poulet à la Moutarde. The onions add a lot of sweetness to the dish, whilst the olives give it a savoury salty feel. Mustard brings warmth and the peanut butter adds creaminess. This Poulet Yassa recipe truly has it all!

Poulet Yassa in a large frying pan set on a wooden chopping board.

Poulet Yassa is a perfect dish for those who can’t handle too much heat. Don’t get me wrong, the dish is warming and comforting with all the mustard that goes in it, but its delicious flavour doesn’t depend on any chilli or any spices for that matter. It is all about mustard, parsley, lemon and sweet caramelised onions.

Ingredients and Substitutes

  • mustard: use Dijon mustard if you can, but replace it with stone-ground or yellow mustard if you must.
  • parsley: fresh pasrley is chopped finely including stalks.
  • chicken thighs: we used boneless and skinless chicken thighs, but you are welcome to use bone-in chicken (more on that below).
  • brown onions: choose large onions, as Senegalese Chicken Yassa is all about those caramelised onions!
  • lemon: we’ll use juice only, so choose a juicy fresh lemon.
  • garlic
  • bay leaf
  • chicken or vegetale stock: choose gluten-free or dairy-free stock if needed.
  • peanut butter: smooth peanut butter works best in this African chicken recipe.
  • pitted green olives

Method

Start by getting all your ingredients ready and weighed out. Then thinly slice the onions, and finely chop the garlic. Finely chop parsley, including stalks and slice the olives into rounds.

Mix a tbsp of Dijon mustard, parsley and some salt and pepper. Slather the mixture all over the chicken thighs and leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Once marinated place the chicken thighs under a preheated grill for 12-15 minutes until just cooked through. I like to line my baking tray with strong foil first to avoid having to scrub the baking tray. If you’re looking for a strong type of foil, I can definitely recommend Kirkland Signature one – it’s brilliant!

In the meantime, place the sliced onions, remaining tbsp of Dijon mustard, garlic and the juice of a lemon in a large bowl. Mix and set aside for 5 minutes.

Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large frying pan on low-medium heat. Add the onion mixture and a bay leaf, and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened and starting to brown lightly.

Chicken Yassa in a large pan with a side of white rice.

At this stage, start cooking your rice following packet instructions. When the chicken is cooked, add the thighs to the onion pan. Mix 150ml of stock with the peanut butter. Pour it into the pan and leave to simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes allowing the sauce to thicken. Take off the heat and keep covered until your rice is cooked.

Just before serving, scatter the sliced green olives on top! Serve Yassa Chicken with rice and vegetables of your choice!

Recipe FAQs

Can I Make This Poulet Yassa Recipe With Bone-In Chicken Thighs?

Yes! Brown the chicken under the grill (turning so it browns evenly) for approx 10-15 minutes or on the hob in the frying pan. Once fully browned, finish cooking the chicken in the caramelised onion and stock mixture. It will take longer though: for bone-in chicken thighs, allow 20-25 minutes. This means that you may need to add a bit more stock to keep enough moisture.

Senegalese Yassa being cut into by a whife and fork held by two hands.

What To Serve Senegalese Yassa With?

We love this chicken yassa recipe with:

Other Delicious Chicken Recipes

If you liked this recipe, please let us know in the comments below! For other chicken-based dishes, have a look at:

Other African Recipes

If you’re looking for a vegetarian West-African cuisine-inspired recipe, here’s our West African Peanut & Butternut Squash Stew recipe. Other African recipes that we love include:

Recipe Card

Senegalese Chicken Yassa on a large teal plate.

Senegalese Chicken Yassa

Marinated tender chicken thighs with sweet, salty and citrusy sauce is something universally accepted as delicious! We believe every chicken-lover should taste our Senegalese-inspired Chicken Yassa recipe for a chicken dinner with a difference! With a whole lot of caramelised onions, olives and peanut butter stock, this is certainly a new and exciting combination to try!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Senegalese
Servings 3 -4 portions
Calories 528 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 5 g parsley finely chopped
  • 600 g chicken thighs boneless
  • 2 large brown onions thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon juice only
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 150 ml chicken or vegetale stock
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 50 g pitted green olives sliced
  • rice to serve

Instructions
 

  • Mix a tbsp of Dijon mustard, parsley and some salt and pepper. Slather the mixture all over the chicken thighs and leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  • Once marinated place the chicken thighs under a preheated grill for 12-15 minutes until just cooked through.
  • In the meantime, place the sliced onions, remaining tbsp of Dijon mustard, garlic and the juice of a lemon in a large bowl. Mix and set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large frying pan on low-medium heat. Add the onion mixture and a bay leaf, and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened and starting to brown lightly.
  • At this stage, start cooking your rice following packet instructions. When the chicken is cooked, add the thighs to the onion pan. Mix 150ml of stock with the peanut butter. Pour it into the pan and leave to simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes allowing the sauce to thicken. Take off the heat and keep covered until your rice is cooked.
  • Just before serving, scatter the sliced green olives on top! Serve Yassa Chicken with rice and vegetables of your choice!

Nutrition

Calories: 528kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 24gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 408mgPotassium: 443mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 278IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 2mg
Keyword African Chicken Recipe, African Mustard Chicken, Chicken with Peanut Butter Stock, Chicken Yassa, Chicken Yassa Recipe, Mustard And Olive Chicken, Mustard And Onion Chicken, Mustard Chicken, Mustard Chicken Recipe, Senegalese Chicken, Senegalese Chicken Recipe, Senegalese Yassa Chicken, West African Chicken Recipe, West African Mustard Chicken, Yassa Chicken, Yassa Chicken Recipe
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10 Replies to “Senegalese Chicken Yassa (Poulet Yassa Recipe)”

  1. 5 stars
    Another winner! Wasn’t sure whether this would work, then wasn’t sure whether the olives would work….. both did.
    Despite all the different ingredients the taste of the chicken really comes through. Simple to make and really tasty

    1. Thanks Pete! I remember being just as sceptical when I first made it, but it’s a great dish!

  2. 5 stars
    I never placed olives in my chicken meals, so I gave it a try. It combines wonderfully, who would of thought, thanks!

    1. So glad you found this recipe! Olives are great with chicken! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    We are always looking for new ways to cook with chicken and this was delicious. So much flavour!

    1. Thanks, Dannii! 💗

  4. 5 stars
    West African cuisine is absolutely stunning! This chicken yassa is just a great example of it!

    1. We are in love with West African cuisine! The peanut stew, the Yassa, Cachupa… We love it all 😀

  5. 5 stars
    Well, this is certainly a new dish for me. I love the salty olives and the combination of lemon and garlic. What a delicious recipe!

    1. Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it 💗

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