Poulet Yassa

Poulet Yassa

Poulet Yassa


Tangy, Spicy & Savoury

Poulet Yassa is a delicious Senegalese dish of chicken stewed with onions, lemon juice and mustard! It is a popular recipe and for good reason. It is super tasty and very simple to make!

poulet yassa

What is Poulet Yassa?

Poulet Yassa is a specialty from the Casamance region in the south of Senegal. The dish is chicken that has been marinated in onions, garlic and lemon and is then stewed with fried onions, lemon juice and mustard. It is not just eaten in Senegal but popular throughout West Africa.

poulet yassa

Where is Senegal?

Senegal is a country on the west coast of Africa. In Senegal the official language is French but it is only understood by a minority of the population. Wolof is the most widely spoken language but there are over 30 languages spoken in the nation.  The country enjoys a dry tropical climate and has many delicious recipes!

Senegal uses scotch bonnet chillies in many of their dishes like lots of other west African countries. Its a popular chilli due to its high heat and fruity flavours!

Another west african favourite of mine is Nigerian Egusi Soup – If you like it extra hot this is the recipe for you!

What do i Need?

The main ingredient of the dish is onion and the chicken of course. You will need a scotch bonnet too if you are making it authentic!

  • Chicken – this recipe calls for chicken on the bone. So you can go fro breast if you want but go to the butcher and ask for a whole chicken and get it cut into 6 or pieces. When I make this recipe I usually use whole chicken legs or thighs.
  • Onions – you can use brown or red onions i like to use a mix of both or just brown onions as red onions are sweeter and there is sweetness from the other components of the dish.
  • Lemons – this is another key ingredient for the dish. You will need lots of lemon juice and from fresh lemons not store bought!
  • Mustard – this recipe calls for a hot dijon mustard for a nice kick. You can use a sweet mustard too if you dont have dijon but it wont be exactly the same.
  • Black Pepper – this is the only seasoning used in this recipe.
  • Scotch Bonnet – of course there is a chilli component in this dish as its an authentic Senegalese recipe that calls for this specific chilli which is called gwana in wolof.

Poulet Yassa Seasoning

I first tried Poulet Yassa last summer at my cousins home. She made it for us last minute on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I had never had it before but I was pleasantly surprised as the ingredients did not sound all that appealing! After eating it I just had to find out more and recreate the recipe at home!

Thats exactly what I did! I headed to the market got the best ingredients I could find and made my own version. I loved it even more than the first time! The next time I visited the market I stopped at the spice stall and to my surprise he had a Poulet Yassa de Senegal Spice blend!! I was so surprised and intrigued, so of course I had to get some. It was another pleasant surprise!

A blend on onion, garlic, lemon and black pepper! Its fabulous on chicken and fish as a dry rub or a part of a marinade. I also sometimes add it to this recipe to give it a little extra va va voom!

poulet yassa

Tips & Tricks

  • Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes if you can for flaviourful juicy chicken.
  • Do not add the lemon juice in the pan with the onions, brown the onions alone.
  • Have lots of lemons on hand in case you need to add more lemon. The recipe should have a strong lemon flavour – its the star of the dish!
  • Use ground black pepper not coarse chunky black pepper. You can always grind some fresh with a pestle and mortar or buy ground from the store.
  • You can use brown or purple onions if you dont have brown or a combination of both. Its best with just brown or 50/50. Purple onions are sweeter than brown so bare this in mind.
poulet yassa

Poulet Yassa Serving Suggestions

Serve your Poulet Yassa with some freshly made White Rice!

Looking to try more West African recipes? Try The Best Nigerian Jollof Rice – a smoky spicy rice perfect for any occasion!

Poulet Yassa

This stewed chicken with fried onions, lemon and mustard will be your new favourite recipe!
Servings 4 people
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 1 Cast iron pot
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Metal bowl
  • Silicone spatula
  • Garlic Presse
  • Tongs


  • 6 whole chicken legs
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 8 brown onions
  • 4 large lemons juiced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 scotch bonnet
  • 3 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp yassa seasoning optional
  • 2 cups water


  • Slice the onions and add to a large bowl. Mince the garlic and add to the same bowl. 
  • Juice all the lemons and add the juice to the bowl with the black pepper, salt and Yassa seasoning if using. Mix everything together and then add the chicken and massage the mixture into the chicken using your hands. Leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Heat a large pot before adding the sunflower oil, when oil is hot add the chicken and fry. Careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry in batches if necessary. 
  • Once the chicken has been browned and is half cooked remove from the pot to a dish to collect the juices.
  • Now add the onions to the same pot and fry. Use a slotted spoon to remove the onions from the mixture to ensure you do not add the lemon juice yet. 
  • Fry the onions for about 10 minutes. Until soft and slightly browned. 
  • Now add the rest of the mixture from the bowl, the mustard another teaspoon of Yassa seasoning and the scotch bonnet. 
  • Add 1-2 cups water and mix, then add the chicken back to the pot and cover and leave on high. 
  • Once bubbling turn heat to low and allow to stew for at least 30 minutes. 
  • Serve with fresh basmati rice and a nice green side salad.  


  • When frying the onions use a slotted spoon to remove from the juice. You want to add the juice later once the onions have been browned.
  • The chilli should be added whole and not burst for a milder heat level and fruity flavour.
  • If you can marinate the chicken for 30 minutes in the lemon and onions great but if not it will still be delicious!
Author: jacintacollet
Cost: €20
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Senegalise
Keyword: one pot, Quick & Easy, Savoury, Spicy, West African

Did you try this Poulet Yassa ?

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m here to help! If you loved this Poulet Yassa, I hope you’ll leave a comment and rating below! Let me know how it turned out for you and share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at @chilliandlife and hashtag it #chilliandlife ! I’ll be sure to share it!

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