Poulet Yassa

Bayo Ajibola

This is not exactly a Nigerian dish but it is from West Africa. It is very tasty though and can help you bring your chicken to a new level of tasty and you may not go back to just stewing your chicken. Before you make this delicious recipe just ask yourself a few questions.

Have you ever thought about chicken? Apart from the fact that it is a good source of white meat and protein, what else do you know about it? Chicken is a complete protein that contains important amino acids that are used to repair body tissues.

It contains niacin, selenium, vitamin B6, phosphorus, pantothenic acid, zinc, potassium and riboflavin. It contains fat as well as cholesterol so those that are watching their cholesterol may need to be careful around chicken. Now for the poulet yassa!


  • 1 large chicken, cut into pieces
  • 5 large red onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Fresh thyme
  • 2 scotch bonnets, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Mix the chicken, onions, ¾ of the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, scotch bonnets, bay leaves, black pepper and Dijon mustard. Mix this thoroughly and marinate the chicken overnight or longer if you prefer.
  • When the marinating period is over, remove the chicken from the marinade.
  • Heat a large pan on medium heat and add the remainder of the cooking oil. Cook the chicken on both sides until brown and set them aside. This will take about two minutes on each side.
  • Remove the onions from the marinade (using a slotted spoon will be easier) and fry them on the hot pan until translucent. Add in the rest of the marinade and let it boil. Let it cook for about 10 minutes until it is reduced.
  • Keep it on the heat until it becomes a thick sauce (may take 20 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium and then throw in the chicken pieces plus all dripping liquids and the thyme to the sauce. Cover the pan and let the mixture simmer until the chicken is properly cooked through (about 15 minutes or so).
  • Serve this with rice and enjoy!


  • Dijon mustard is rather hot so you might want to go easy on the scotch bonnets and black pepper.
  • A dash of black pepper always adds a great kick to chicken so be sure to add a little.
  • Don’t get tempted to skimp on the onions. They add a great flavour to the dish and the caramelized onions mixed with the chicken are just divine.
  • The marinating process takes long so as to help tenderize the meat. You may get tempted to keep it in the marinade for a shorter time but remember that it may leave you with tough meat.
  • There are many variations of this dish that almost every West African country lays claim to. You can make your own adjustments and claim a stake as well!
  • If you don’t want to use chicken you can have fish instead (and it becomes Poisson yassa). It will take a shorter time to marinate too.
  • Generally speaking, yassas are spicy even without adding the chillies and pepper. You could just use the onions and lemons if you are worried about it being too hot for your palette and you will still have a delicious chicken dish.

Bayo Ajibola

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