Chicken Yassa

Chicken Yassa – a Senegalese national dish

Yassa is a spicy, hot dish from Senegal or Gambia

It consists of beef, chicken or fish marinated with lime juice, mustard and lots of onions.

I used chicken legs for this recipe. However, I can also imagine it with tofu or “quorn”.

The chicken is marinated for at least an hour so that the flavor of the limes, onions, and mustard transfers nicely to the chicken.

However, you can also marinate it very well the night before and then let it sit in the fridge until the next day.

ingredienti per Chicken Yassa
ingredients for chicken Yassa

Actually, chicken Yassa is easy to prepare and also cooked quickly. But it needs some planning because the marinade must infuse. And that takes some time.

You can determine the spiciness of the marinade yourself with chili flakes or cayenne.

Chilli flakes
chilli flakes

As a side dish for chicken Yassa, you can have rice and vegetables, according to taste. Peppers or carrots go well with it, or a salad with vegetables, lettuce, and fruit. For example, capsicum, iceberg lettuce, and mango.

I ate this dish for the first time at “Afro-Pfingsten“.

Afro-Pfingsten is an event in Winterthur/Switzerland, which always takes place in the week before Pentecost.

As the name says, it’s a festival around Africa. With great concerts, a big market with African products and a world market. And of course, with food stalls selling dishes from all over Africa! For three days you can eat your way through a whole continent and get to know many new tastes.

I have been participating in this market for 15 years – with my spice and tea stall. Unfortunately, this colorful, cheerful festival was not held at all last year and this year only as a streaming festival (2020/2021).

So, without further ado, I cooked my own Afro-Pfingsten food.

Chicken Yassa

What is your favorite African food?

Here’s the recipe:

Yassa, ingredienti

Chicken Yassa

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Resting Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Senegal
Servings 4 people


  • 4 limes or lemons juice only.
  • 3 tablespoons mustard medium hot, may also be coarse-grained
  • Pepper to taste
  • Chili chopped and without seeds to taste fresh or dried
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 pinch of allspice powder or clove powder
  • 6 onions medium size
  • 4-8 chicken legs
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • water


For the marinade:

  • Mix lime or lemon juice with mustard, chili, pepper, sugar, salt and all spice powder
  • Peel the onions and cut them into thin slices (2/3 mm)
    cipolle per pollo Yassa
  • Place onion slices in a shallow dish
  • Pat chicken thighs dry and place on top of onions
    Pollo su cipolle per pollo Yassa
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken and let it marinate for at least one hour
    Pollo con marinata
  • Mix the marinade from time to time

After marinating:

  • Remove chicken thighs from marinade and pat dry
  • Fry in hot oil on all sides
  • Add the marinade with the onion slices to the chicken and simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes.
  • Add a little water if necessary, there should always be enough liquid.
  • Season with salt and pepper if necessary.


Serve with rice and vegetables or salad.
Keyword Chicken Yassa

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