Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chicken Yassa

I recently asked my kids what their favorite food was in Mali, West Africa (we traveled there earlier this year). My son said "Meat pockets!"(pictured)

Meat pockets? Decidedly un-African, but yes, I agree, when the choices are corn mush with okra sauce, or white rice with one of 4 sauces, fried dough with meat and eggs were so delicious and satisfying!

One of my favorite West African dishes is Chicken Yassa, which is actually Sene-Gambian in origin. African Lemon Chicken, if you will. The rendition I learned in Mali starts out with a base of parsley, black pepper, garlic and onions--like most sauces--with the tasty addition of lemon and mustard. Marinate, grill and stew.

This also happens to be a fave of my husband, and seeing as it was his birthday yesterday, I made it for him. By the way, he swears he made it for me when we were dating. I am trying to remember in the deep recesses of my mind when he ever cooked for me! Maybe he'll pull out his rendition for my birthday?

Oh, and my daughter's favorite dish? Plain rice. So much for opening their minds!

Chicken Yassa

Chicken pieces of your choice (4 breasts equivalent)
2 large onions, chopped
2 carrots
1/2 lemon
2 habaneros

1 large bunch flat-leafed parsley
4 large cloves garlic
1 tbsp black pepper corns
1 small white onion
4 tbsp yellow mustard
juice 1 lemon
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup veggie oil

Mash parsley, onion, garlic and pepper corns in mortar or food processor. Stir in remaining ingredients. Coat chicken pieces and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

For skinless chicken: Remove from marinade (keep marinade for sauce) and grill just to brown each side. Do not cook through. Cool and dice.
For skin-on chicken: The Malians fry the pieces to seal in juices. You could pan fry or deep fry just to seal juices then set aside.

Heat about 1/4 cup oil in large pot
Stir in chopped onions until soft
Add in chicken pieces and carrots, marinade, juice of 1/2 lemon, water to cover and salt/bullion cubes and habaneros.
Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until tender.
Taste for salt.

Serve over rice.

You could alternately just grill the chicken and make the sauce separately


My Little Space said...

Othelia, love your 1st picture. So beautiful, so free and so much fun! Good on you.

manga mboa said...

My favourite dish too; I am impressed "your poulet yassa" seems very delicious! And what about "Poulet Mafé" did you test it too?

Otehlia said...

It is so delicious. Thanks for reminding me about this dish! It's almost time to make it again...Yes, I also love Poulet mafe, though in Mali they call it tigedigena.