Poulet Yassa, a spicy, lemony chicken dish with caramelized onions, is often considered Senegal’s most famous dish. Originating in Kenya, Poulet Yassa has become a popular dish throughout West Africa. The secret to making perfect Poulet Yassa is in the extremely slow cooking and caramelizing the onions in just the right way. Do that right? You will have an ethnic food treat that you will long remember and want to revisit often. Try this recipe out – you will see why!
Poulet Yassa Recipe-
- 2 lb. chicken pieces
- 2 lb. onions, peeled and rough chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced small
- 1/4 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1 Knorr seasoning cube, crushed
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp. Scotch Bonnet hot pepper sauce (or to taste)
- 1 tbsp. Maggi Seasoning Sauce
- freshly squeezed juice of 3 ripe lemons
- 1 ripe red tomato, cored and rough chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into slices
- 1/2 cup scallion infused olive oil
- 6 cups freshly cooked yellow rice, for serving accompaniment
- In a large skillet over medium-high flame, heat the oil. Add into the skillet the chicken pieces. Sauté the chicken while stirring and turning now and then, until the juices run clear and the meat pieces are well browned – about 15-20 minutes should do it. When browned well, set aside on a paper towel-lined platter to drain off the excess oil.
- Reduce the skillet heat to the absolute lowest setting. Add and stir in the onions and sauté very slowly until they are a light yellow color and caramelized – this could take at least 2 hours, minimum, if you are doing it right.
- Stir the onions every 15 minutes or so. If, after a half an hour, they don’t look any different whatsoever, you’ve probably got the heat just right. After one hour they should start appearing translucent. After two hours they should be wilted and floppy, but do not stop – never turn up the heat. In this crucial step, the slower, the better is what matters. Excellent Yassa is accomplished with a cooking period of about six hours!
- When the slowly cooked onions are completely caramelized, add and stir in the Dijon, lemon juice, Knorr cube, Scotch Bonnet hot pepper sauce, Maggi Seasoning sauce, salt, and pepper.
- Increase the heat to medium-low, adjusting it to where your Poulet Yassa is cooking at just a lively simmer. Add in the browned chicken pieces to the skillet. Allow to simmer for about one hour, stirring now and then, and doing taste tests occasionally to see if seasoning adjustments are necessary.
- While the Poulet Yassa is simmering, boil your yellow rice in a cooking pot that is large enough to hold the rice and cooking water and yet be only about half to 2/3 full.
- When the chicken in your cooking Poulet Yassa is so fork-tender that it falls off of the bone, the meat is well done.
- Use tongs to carefully pull the chicken pieces out of the skillet, transfer them to a bowl or platter, ready to serve.
- Scoop the rest of the cooking ingredients from the skillet and put them into the pot of freshly cooked yellow rice, and then stir vigorously to combine thoroughly.
- To serve your Poulet Yassa, place a generous, mounded bed of the rice and cooking ingredients mixture onto each serving plate, then top it with a few pieces of the chicken.
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