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Chicken Yassa
with avocado and cucumber salad / rice

Active: 45 Total: 45

This flavorful dish is popular throughout West Africa and has layers of tart and spicy flavor. Don't rush the step to cook the onions - let them get sweet and super tender before adding the other ingredients. 
Smarts: While Scotch bonnet peppers are the traditional ingredient for adding spice to this dish, red pepper flakes or even your favorite hot sauce stand in well. 



White or Brown Rice:
  • Rice, uncooked white or brown - 1 cup
Chicken Yassa:
  • Garlic - 3 cloves , chopped
  • Ginger, fresh - 2 tsp , grated
  • Onions, medium - 2 , thinly sliced
  • Vinegar, apple cider - 1/4 cup
  • Lemon juice - 3 Tbsp
  • Oil, cooking - 3 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
  • Red pepper flakes - 1/2 tsp (more or less to taste)
  • Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless - 1 lb
  • Lemons - 1 , wedges
  • Mustard, Dijon - 1 tsp
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Stock, any type - 1 cup
  • Green olives, whole or sliced (opt) - 1/2 cup
Avocado and Cucumber Salad:
  • Vinegar, red or white wine - 1 Tbsp
  • Mustard, Dijon - 1 tsp
  • Honey - 1/2 tsp
  • Oil, olive - 2 1/2 Tbsp
  • Cucumbers - 12 oz , cubed
  • Avocado - 1 , cubed
  • Mixed greens - 8 oz (sub any type of salad greens)


  1. Rice - For white rice, rinse until clear. Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice), and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Check white rice after ~20 min; brown at ~45 min. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Garlic / Ginger / Onions - Prep as directed. Combine garlic and ginger. Store onions separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  3. Marinate chicken - Combine apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, first portion of cooking oil, and red pepper flakes. Add chicken thighs and turn to coat. Tenderize with a fork. Marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to a day. (Can be done 1 day ahead)

  4. Make vinaigrette - Whisk together red wine vinegar, mustard (portion for salad), and honey. Add olive oil while whisking. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  5. Lemons / Cucumbers - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done 1 day ahead)

  6. Avocado - Cube avocado.

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  1. Remove chicken from marinade (discard marinade). Season chicken on both sides with some salt and pepper.

  2. Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan with second portion of cooking oil. Add chicken to heated oil and sear on both sides until golden brown (it won’t be cooked all the way through), 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set chicken aside and return pan to heat.

  3. If the pan looks dry, add some oil and then onions. Season with some salt. Saute onions until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. (Note: Add a splash of water to the pan if it starts to look dry and the onions stick.)

  4. Add garlic, ginger, mustard (portion for chicken), bay leaf, and stock. Bring to a simmer. When liquids are simmering, add chicken back to pan, nestling it into the onions. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid or foil.

  5. Cook onions and chicken together, covered, until the chicken is cooked through (internal temperature reaches 165F / 74C), 12 to 15 minutes more.

  6. When chicken is nearly finished cooking, toss mixed greens, avocados, and cucumbers in vinaigrette until dressed to your liking.

  7. Remove bay leaves from chicken and stir in olives (if using).

  8. If rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave.

  9. Serve Yassa over rice with salad on the side and lemon wedges for squeezing over top. Enjoy!



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