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Chicken Yassa (Smothered in Onions and Lemon)

June 2, 2010


I recently had a dinner for some friends that spent some time with me in Dakar, Senegal and happily made some of our favorite foods we enjoyed there together.  We had traveled through the years to Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa and Senegal but I chose some of the foods we had shared in Dakar, Senegal since we met there to celebrate a good friend that was opening a restaurant in Dakar.  They were quite surprised to see what was on the menu and wished I had told them before so that they might have dressed appropriately!  Next time I will tell them which country we will be remembering and see what their selection of clothing will bring to the table.

“The Menu”

Avocado Stuffed with Shrimp

Chicken Yassa

Salade Cote Cap Verte

Mamadou’s  Banana Glace

Pen and Ink drawing from Dakar, Senegal


Chicken Yassa


  •   1 4-6 lb. Chicken
  • 3 Medium Onions (Vidalia or other, thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 C. Parsley (chopped)
  • 1 t. Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1 t. Coarse Salt
  • 1 Bay Leaf (crumbled)
  • 1/4 t. Thyme
  • 1/2 t. Crushed Red Pepper (Optional)


Marinate at least 30 minutes, longer or even overnight is ideal.


  1. Cut the chicken in half or in pieces and spread out on a baking pan
  2. Put giblets in water and simmer (for sauce for chicken and onions) (need 1 C. of stock)
  3. Cover with the onions, parsley, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme and red pepper
  4. Pour lemon juice and salad oil over the chicken and onions
  5. Marinate for at least 30 minutes
  6. After marinating remove the chicken and broil until chicken is browned on all sides
  7. Simmer the onion mixture over medium heat stirring occasionally to prevent onions from browning (approx. 5 minutes)
  8. Return chicken to baking pan and cover with the onion mixture
  9. Pour 1 cup chicken stock (including giblets) over the chicken and onions
  10. Make white rice
  11. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes until onions turn a light golden color.

Cook the onions with liquids from the marinade about 5 minutes.

Grill the chicken so all sides are browned on outdoor grill or grill pan.

Ready to go in the oven for final baking.

(Serves 2-4)

In Dakar one half of a chicken is served on white rice to each person.  I cooked one chicken for 2-4 people, and this recipe is for 1 chicken)

Inspired and Adapted from “The African Cookbook”  Edited by Bea Sandler


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Margaret Ruth Hyslop permalink
    December 25, 2010 02:56

    Let us know if you cook this recipe…we’ll check it out here in Dakar!!

  2. June 3, 2010 07:06

    The chicken looks so delicious. I can’t believe I’ve just drooled!


  1. Top 10 Recipes of 2010 « "Deja Vu" Cook

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