Prep 4 hrs
Cook 45 mins
This traditional chicken dish from the Casamance region of Senegal is one of the most famous African recipes and is found in Senegalese restaurants the world over. For best results let the chicken marinate overnight; in Africa, this is essential to tenderize the sometimes tougher African fowl. It is also very good when made with fish. For the simplest yassa, make the marinade from just oil, lemon juice, onions, and a little mustard.
- 1⁄2 cup peanut oil (or any cooking oil)
- 1 chicken, cut into serving-sized pieces
- 4 -6 onions, cut up
- 8 tablespoons lemon juice
- 8 tablespoons vinegar (cider vinegar is good)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (optional)
- 1 tablespoon maggi seasoning sauce (or Maggi cubes and water or soy sauce) (optional)
- 1 chili pepper, cleaned and finely chopped (optional)
- cayenne pepper or red pepper
- black pepper
- 1 small cabbage, cut into chunks (optional)
- 2 carrots, cut into chunks (optional)
- Mix all ingredients (except the optional vegetables), the more onions the better, and allow chicken to marinate in a glass dish in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
- Remove chicken from the marinade, but save the marinade.
- Cook according to one of the following methods.
- Cooking method 1: Grill chicken over a charcoal fire (or bake it in a hot oven) until chicken is lightly browned but not done.
- Cooking method 2: Sauté chicken for a few minutes on each side in hot oil in a frypan.
- While chicken is browning: Remove onions from marinade and sauté them in a large saucepan for a few minutes.
- Add remaining marinade and the optional vegetables and bring to a slow boil, cooking the marinade into a sauce.
- Reduce heat.
- Add chicken to the sauce, cover and simmer until chicken is done.
- Serve with Rice, Couscous (couscous with chickpeas and raisins is very good), or Fufu.
I haven't made this exact recipe, but a variation of it from Prevention Magazine. It's not a quick dish, but it is so incredibly delicious and totally worth the time and effort if you like tangy flavors. A few handfuls of chopped italian parsley will add a lot to the dish. I stretch the liquid by adding a can of chicken broth and extra lemon juice and spices...it makes more delicious juice to soak into some brown rice. Sometimes I use limes instead. Don't worry about overdoing it with the onions, as they cook down considerably and end up nice and mild. This is one of my top favorite recipes.
The picture used in this article is a picture of ceebu jen.
Looks like a pretty legit recipe from my experience (more than 2 years living in The Gambia and visiting Senegal regularly). However, I will agree with Cocktailhour that the photo is not Yassa! Further, it is not called Zaame (at least by any of the major ethnic groups of Senegambia) but rather Bennechin, which means "one pot meal" in Wolof. This word has largely carried over to the other languages (it's Bennakinno in Mandinka, possibly a fusion between kinno, or cooked rice in Mandinka, and the Wolof Bennachin). Anyway, try this recipe but don't expect the results to look like the photo!