This recipe is one of my favorites for chicken skewers as the marinade is just so full of salty and tangy flavor – a blend of Senegalese flavors – and they are my contribution to most of the summer’s barbeques! If you’re on the hunt for a new chicken skewers recipe, then look no further. I’ve adapted the beautiful and classic Yassa chicken from Senegal into juicy chicken skewers for all the family to enjoy.
The barbecue is hot, salads are ready and the meat is sizzling. The summer is the time to show off your barbequing skills and I have the best recipe for Yassa chicken skewers for you to try. Yassa chicken is a Senegalese recipe, and you can find my recipe here. It’s a heavenly stew of onions and olives, with melt-in-the-mouth chicken in a delicious mustardy and garlicky marinade.
Yassa chicken is such a perfect dinner or Sunday lunch, however, while the sun’s shining, we eat most of our meals outside in the garden, and drag out the barbeque. So, there was no way I could miss out on Yassa chicken just because we weren’t cooking in an oven!
Try my juicy and succulent Yassa chicken skewers, and wow your guests at your next grill party!
WHAT IS SENEGALESE CUISINE LIKE?
If you have read my blog on the Senegalese Thieboudienne Rouge, you will already know about this West African country’s delicious diet.
Yassa chicken is another iconic recipe to emerge from the region. Originating in Casamance, just south of The Gambia, Yassa chicken is influenced by the French occupation and the tropical climate. Also known as Poulet au Yassa, this recipe combines typical French ingredients and chili and bay to create a beautifully balanced marinade. Due to the dish’s popularity around the region, it has become renowned all over West Africa and beyond.
Traditionally a chicken stew full of softly caramelized onions and olives, I’ve used that delicious stew sauce as a marinade for chicken skewers.
WHY IS IT SUCH AS GREAT MARINADE FOR CHICKEN SKEWERS?
Barbequing is hot and dry heat, so you need to keep your chicken tender to stop the pieces from becoming too charred or lacking in moisture. This Yassa chicken marinade contains specific ingredients essential for keeping your chicken soft and moist on the grill. These are the ingredients you will need:
- Lemon juice: lemon juice is an acid and when it’s used in marinades, it helps to tenderize the meat as its acidity breaks down meat fibers. Leaving the chicken pieces to sit in the lemon marinade for a few hours, or overnight, will give the juice time to work on the protein and connective tissue so every mouthful is incredibly tender and juicy.
- Dijon mustard: this sharp condiment also breaks down and tenderizes meat proteins. Dijon mustard contains vinegar, which like lemon juice, works as an acid.
- Olive oil: sometimes, if you have too much acid in your marinade, it can achieve the opposite of what you intend and suck out all the meat’s moisture! This is why you also need olive oil which counteracts the acid, and keeps meat moist.
The chicken will stay succulent and soft on the barbecue with all of these tenderizing ingredients. Beyond that, though, the chicken also needs flavor, which Yassa chicken has in spades!
The ingredients you will need for my Yassa chicken skewers are:
- Dried oregano
- Onion powder
- Crushed garlic
- Chicken broth cube
- Lemon juice
- Dijon mustard
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Mix these ingredients to create a wonderfully rich, tangy sauce. You gently toss the diced chicken breast into this, then leave it to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours. Later, when you’re ready to cook them on the barbeque, you thread the chicken pieces onto skewers with green olives and baby onions for salty and crunchy bite.
WHAT CAN I SERVE WITH YASSA CHICKEN SKEWERS?
Yassa chicken is often served with fufu in Senegal, or couscous or rice. As my Yassa chicken skewers are perfect for a grill party, there are lots of options of what they can be served with:
- In keeping with the cuisine of Senegal, make couscous or a rice salad for your next cookout
- Enjoy a light salad with crisp leaves and a lemony-mustard dressing to complement the chicken
- Bring the rest of the marinade to the boil and serve as a delicious and sticky sauce
- As this recipe for Yassa chicken is as easy-to-eat skewers, you can eat them as they are as a quick and delicious appetizer
Yassa chicken, or Poulet au Yassa, is such a wonderful recipe and now can be appreciated inside and outside on the barbeque. Enjoy it with my succulent and flavorful Yassa chicken skewers – the perfect addition to your grill party menu!
YASSA CHICKEN SKEWERS
FOR THE MARINADE:
- ½ cup Lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chicken broth powder
- 3 cloves Garlic crushed
- ¼ teaspoon Onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon Ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Salt
FOR THE CHICKEN SKEWERS:
- 2 pounds Chicken breasts skinless and boneless
- 1 handful Small onions peeled and halved
- ½ cup Green olives pitted
- 8 Wooden skewers or metal skewers
- First, combine all ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl and mix well.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add it to the marinade and mix everything.
- Refrigerate the chicken for 30 minutes or overnight. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Thread the chicken, onions, and olives onto 8 large metal or soaked wooden skewers.
- Place the chicken on the preheated grill rack. Grill them covered over medium heat. Turn the skewers a couple of times and grill for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.
- Serve with rice or couscous.