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Unbeatable chicken Yassa

Discover the recipe that represents Senegal

Chicken Yassa is a guaranteed feast: chicken that is marinated for hours in a delicious blend of lemon, mustard and spices, before being delicately grilled on a charcoal barbecue, and then dipped in a sauce made with lemon and onions that are soft and crispy at the same time. For me, this specialty represents all the charm of Senegalese cuisine. In Senegal, cooking is all about patience and togetherness

Aïssatou - Aistou Cuisine

An eternal dreamer, I love to tell stories through my cooking. The recipes that feature on my blog are just like me: a mix of deep-rootedness and openness. 


Serves: 4 
• Preparation time: 20 minutes
• Rest time: 1 hour
• Cooking time: 45 minutes

• 1 chicken cutlet
• 2 onions
• 2 lemons
• 2 tablespoons mustard
• 6 garlic cloves
• ½ bell pepper 
• 1 teaspoon black or white pepper
• 1 red chili pepper
• 2 bird's eye chilies
• 1 bay leaf
• Salt to taste
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 250 g white rice
• For the dressing: 1/3 cucumber, 1 tomato



1. Wash the chicken cutlet. In Senegal, we usually wash it with salt and lemon to remove its strong smell.
2. Prepare the seasoning by combining the garlic, bell pepper, chili peppers, salt and ½ a teaspoon of pepper.
3. Chop the cutlet into four.
4. In a bowl, place half of the seasoning, add one tablespoon of mustard, the juice of a lemon and one tablespoon of oil. Combine then add the chicken pieces to the bowl. Leave to stand for one hour.
5. During this time, thinly slice the onions. Add one tablespoon of mustard and mix together.
6. Pour one tablespoon of oil into a frying pan and add the onions. Leave to cook, stirring occasionally. When the onions become transparent, add the rest of the seasoning and lightly salt and pepper. Add the red chili pepper. Add a little water (around 5 cl) then leave to simmer on a low heat. Mid-way through cooking, add the juice of half a lemon. The sauce is ready when there is no water left.
7. Grill the chicken on the barbecue. Drain the marinade from the chicken, add a tablespoon of oil, then use the mixture to coat the chicken pieces as they cook. 
8. Spread the (pre-cooked) rice over a baking sheet, cover with another sheet, then press hard to bind the grains of rice. 
9. Using a cookie cutter, make eight rice patties. To make the sandwiches, take a rice patty and drizzle a spoonful of Yassa sauce over it. Stack a piece of chicken cutlet, two slices of cucumber and a slice of tomato onto the patty before placing another rice patty on top and garnishing with slice of lemon. 

A tip from Aïssatou: squeeze the slice of lemon over your ""Yassandwich"" before eating. 

Local gastronomy

Senegalese cuisine is mainly based on millet and rice. Its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean means that fish is a key ingredient in many local dishes. Each region has its own specialty, but some dishes are enjoyed all over Senegal. Yassa, for example, comes from Casamance (in the south of the country) and is a dish traditionally cooked with fish. It is said that Thiéboudienne, a national specialty, is best in the Saint-Louis region (in the north).
Nobody can visit Senegal without trying the delicious grilled fish on the coast, the famous pastels (fried fish pies) on street corners or the succulent dibis (grilled lamb) sold in the small neighborhood restaurants known as dibiteries, not forgetting the delicious local juices: bissap (hibiscus), ditakh, bouye (baobab pulp), etc.

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