“We decided to take a few days in Dakar. Perhaps it was the warm, tropical night full of evocative Senegalese music... Perhaps I was seduced by the soul-satisfying Chicken Yassa we enjoyed at a waterfront eatery run by an exotic beauty with exceptional hospitality skills... It was not easy to leave Dakar.”
Salt, coriander seed, cinnamon, garlic, green peppercorn, ginger, thyme: together they weave an extraordinary flavour spell.
Make a traditional Yassa Chicken: Combine 5ml of ground Yassa Spice with lemon juice and a little peanut oil. Paint a whole chicken and rest in the fridge for an hour. Roast with a selection of onions, potatoes and carrots - serve on brown rice with lentils. Also great on fish and lamb. Excellent on roast root vegetables, butternut or pumpkin.
In West Africa they make an onion Yassa sauce. There are as many recipes for Yassa Onion Sauce as there are cooks in West Africa... This one seems to cover most of the bases - and its delicious, beyond deliciousness!
ONION YASSA Roughly chop 3 brown onions and 5 cloves of garlic. Place in a roasting pan with 100ml peanut oil. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the vegetables and grind 2 tsp Yassa over the top. Roast until the onions are very soft - (take care not to burn the garlic!) Blend with a fork and serve with roast chicken.
Pour equal measures of long grain rice, wild rice and lentils into a large mug. Place in a pot with 3 mugs of water and bring to the boil. Add a bit of salt about halfway through the cooking process. Cook until the rice and lentils are just cooked - drain if needed. Lightly fry a finely chopped onion in butter and penut oil until the onion is transparent. Add 2 tsp of ground Yassa and fry for a minute - add 2 cloves of crushed garlic and fry for another minute on lower heat. Dry-toast a generous handful of roughly chopped cashew nuts. Combine the rice mix with the onion mix and garnish with cashews. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon before serving.