Senegalese Poulet Yassa


Poulet yassa is a famous Senegalese dish that has become popular throughout Western Africa. But be clear on this: it’s really nothing more than chicken with onion and lemon and a Senegalese touch. Giving the chicken a long marinade in the lemon juice helps to tenderize the tough poultry found in the region and gives it an incomparable flavor.


  • 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 saute 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. Saute 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 or couscous.