Friday, December 17, 2010

Yassa Poulet at Sonko's

Yassa Poulet or Poulet Yassa is probably Senegal's most famous dish. In fact, it has spread throughout most of West Africa because it is so tasty. At almost every restaurant here in Dakar, you will find Yassa Poulet on the menu (including a japanese restaurant). However, there is a right way to make Yassa and... well...the 'other way'.

Our guard, Sonko, brought over some Yassa that his wife and sister made on Tabaski.

It was heavenly.

I have eaten many, many, many yassa dishes as I think I am truly addicted to this meal. It takes incredible will power for me to not order the Yassa everytime we eat out. Sonko's yassa was one of the best I have had.

Last Saturday, we were invited to see how a good Yassa is made. It takes hours and hours....not just to prep, but to slow cook the chicken. And then to grill it on low heat. And then to let it simmer in the delicious sauce.

I sat in the kitchen with my notebook, pen, and camera feeling so so so lucky to witness this meal preparation....the right way. It took 6 hours...and it was delicious.

Maybe, just maybe, I will be the first toubob that can make a good Yassa.

Preparing the spices with the giant mortar and pestle.
(whole peppercorns, garlic cloves, full dried red pepper, and maggi cubes)

Then the special spices were put just underneath the chicken skin and rubbed all over.

Then, prepare the Yassa sauce spices. (peppercorns, green onions, salt, maggi cubes, garlic).

And this was amazing. Pounds and pounds of onions were pounded for about an hour. It was a lot of work...and even had to swap out arm power as you would get tired after just 10 minutes.

Rich and other family members relaxing in the living room.

Baby Kelly and I (my namesake).

Laird and Sonko's wife.

Relaxing in the kitchen while the chicken was simmering.

Checking the yassa sauce while slow cooking the chicken. No oven, just a fuel tank.

Then the slow grilling.

And the final addition of olives.


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