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Senegalese Chicken Yassa


  • 3 cups (about 2 large onions) sliced red onions
    1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
    2 tsp finely chopped hot green chillies
    1 tsp grated fresh ginger
    3 dried bay leaves
    1 tsp dried thyme
    1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
    salt to taste
    1 cup fresh lemon juice
    1 cup water
    ½ cup canola or vegetable oil, divided
    1 (1-1.3kg) chicken drumsticks


In a shallow, nonreactive (not metal) baking dish, combine the onions, garlic, chillies, ginger, bay leaves, thyme, pepper and salt. Add the lemon juice, water, ¼ cup oil, and chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade liquid, reserving both liquid and solids. The onions will have turned pink from the reaction to the lemon juice.

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large, heavy skillet and brown the chicken on all sides. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate.

Pour off most of the oil from the skillet. Add the reserved solids to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes over moderate heat, or until the onions are soft and lightly coloured. Return the chicken (and any juices) to the skillet. Add the marinade, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Serve with hot boiled rice.


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