Try Khadim Mbamba's chicken yassa recipe, then listen to his podcast about Senegalese food.

Khadim says: "If my mum wanted me to do something she would tell me she was going to make chicken yassa, and I would do whatever she wanted! Cooking it now reminds me of Senegal and of my mum and sisters. My tip is to always put a lot of love in when you’re cooking and it will show in the finished dish. The dish originated in the south of Senegal in the Casamance region where the Diola people come from, and is now popular throughout West Africa."

Khadim is the owner and head chef of Little Baobab, a pop-up restaurant that celebrates Senegalese food and music at monthly gatherings in London. Follow him on Instagram @littlebaobabuk


  • 4 medium onions, 2 roughly chopped, 2 thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 spring onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 15g ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • a handful flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 whole chicken legs (skin on), slashed
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • green olives, (optional)
  • plain rice, couscous or vermicelli, to serve


  • STEP 1

    In a food processer, blitz together the roughly chopped onions, garlic, spring onion, pepper, ginger, chilli, parsley and a good pinch of salt. Add the juice of one lemon and the mustard, and blitz again.

  • STEP 2

    Put the marinade in a bowl with the chicken legs and thinly sliced onion, toss and leave to marinate for at least couple of hours (or overnight if you like).

  • STEP 3

    Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Remove the chicken from the marinade, brushing off any excess, put onto a baking tray and roast for 45 minutes or until deep golden and cooked through.

  • STEP 4

    While the chicken is cooking, heat the oil in a large wide pan over a high heat, then stir in the marinade and onions. Add the vinegar, bay, and some salt and pepper, and cook over a medium-high heat for 35-40 minutes, stirring regularly, or until the onions are cooked through, melting and caramelised. Stir in the remaining lemon juice.

  • STEP 5

    Add the roasted chicken and olives (if using) to the pan, cover and cook for 5 minutes on a low heat to let the flavours combine. Sprinke over a little extra parsley, if you like, and serve with rice, couscous or vermicelli.


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