International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Poulet Yassa


(Senegalese chicken with onions and lemon)

Image Creative Commons by rachel_titiriga

Average: 4.1 (40 votes)

Poulet yassa is a famous Senegalese dish that has become popular throughout Western Africa. The long marinating of the chicken in the lemon juice helps to tenderize the tough poultry found in the region.

4 to 6 servings


  • Chicken, cut into serving pieces -- 2 to 3 pounds
  • Onions, thinly sliced -- 4 to 6
  • Hot chile pepper, minced -- 1 to 3
  • Lemons, juice only -- 4 or 5
  • Dijon mustard (optional) -- 2 tablespoons
  • Peanut or vegetable oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Oil -- 2 or 3 tablespoons


  1. Add all the ingredients except for the oil to a large non-reactive bowl and mix together. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Remove the chicken pieces, wipe dry, and grill, broil or sauté them until well browned. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium flame. Remove the onions from the marinade and add them to the pot. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes until they are well wilted and starting to brown.
  4. Add the rest of the marinade and the browned chicken pieces to the onions, reduce heat to medium-low heat and simmer until cooked through and tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Adjust seasoning and serve with rice, fufu or couscous.

Poulet Yassa Variations

  • Poisson Yassa: Substitute 2 or 3 pounds of firm fish fillets for the chicken. Marinating time only needs to be 30 minutes to an hour in this case. Grill the fish and sauté the onions. Then simmer the marinade without the fish for 10 to 15 minutes. Finally, add the marinated grilled fish and simmer for 10 minutes more.
  • Sometimes vegetables are added to the pot to stretch the meat and add more flavor. Add 2 or 3 chopped carrots, 1/2 head of chopped cabbage or a handful of green olives when you bring the marinade to simmer.
  • Half of the lemon juice can be replaced with vinegar. Cider vinegar works well.
  • Cubed lamb or mutton may be substituted for the chicken. The dish will need to cook a bit longer for the meat to become tender.


Is there a recipe for making african breads, i really need to know

Traditional West African cuisine didn't have breads in the European sense of a yeast-leavened, baked loaf of wheat dough. Fufu was the starch of choice. But colonization brought French, Italian and other breads to the continent, and they are as popular as ever today.

For a meal like poulet yassa from Senegal--a former French colony--a simple loaf of French bread or baguette would be fine.

this looks really good i can see myself taking this in and trying... i would even ttry to get my family to try it and they migh just give it a chance so i will try to ask my boyfriend as well he likes weird foods jusst like me so its a date ..... thanks for listening lo l

Point of correction, not weird, just different ..

This is a very common dish in the Gambia. It has many more hot peppers, including 3-4 whole peppers (they look like habaƱero) while slow cooking. It is served on a large platter and eaten communally with no silverware. Just grab a small handful of rice, press it together and dip in the juices. The chicken, of course, is also eaten with the hands.

yep 100% original spoon= hand

No, it is eaten with the fingers. :)

I have been CRAVING this dish. When I visited Senegal and The Gambia, our host served it will their rendition of fries....yum!! I will be trying this recipe this week.

I tried this meal yesterday for the first time from a senegalese friend... and my oh my I looooved it I cant wait to try it and some Kenyan flavor