This is my signature recipe. It is my version of a Senegalese dish called Yassa. My husband is from Senegal and he made me this meal on one of our first dates. Toubab means ‘white person’ in his native language of Wolof. We call this dish Yassa Toubab because it’s got the elements of the original dish, but I’ve added some ingredients along the way to truly make it my own.
I will warn you now, I use a lot of spices and seasoning for this recipe. However, if you’re not up for the spice, you can really just tailor it to your liking. Just add what you’re comfortable with and taste along the way.
This isn’t something you can just whip up, it’s quite time consuming, approximately 1.5 – 2 hours. I’m going to try my best to show you step by step how I make this delicious meal.
Are you ready?
What you’ll need:
1 each red and green bell peppers
4 large carrots
2 yellow onions
3 med/lg potatoes
1 tbsp White vinegar
The Sauce: 1 jar of tomato sauce — I currently use Paul Newman’s Sockarooni, but have used plain marinara and it’s come out great.
The spices/seasoning: I don’t measure anything, I liberally add them in several times throughout the process. And it really depends on what’s in our pantry, but the must haves would be the Goya Sazón & Adobo, black pepper & chili powder.
Crushed Red Pepper
Chicken Bouillon cube (Jumbo)*
*These are totally optional, I don’t always have them on hand and the recipe comes out just fine.
How to pull it all together:
I use a large 12″ pan, splatter screen & cover. First, I fry up the chicken using coconut oil at high temp — but you’re welcome to use your oil of choice. While the chicken is sizzling I cut up the carrots and potatoes and put them in a bowl.
Once the chicken is nice and golden and little bit crispy, I pull it out and keep on a plate until I’m ready to add it back into the pan. Now I turn down the heat to medium and toss in the potatoes and carrots. I stir them around to get coated by the oil and then cover the pan. I keep them covered for a good 5 minutes.
Next I start chopping up the onions and peppers. I cut the onions in small strips: first in half, then strips vertically and then cut those strips in half. The peppers I simply chop. I put these in a bowl and add the vinegar, the Goya Sazón, black pepper and chicken bouillon cube. I stir this up with a fork to really get the seasonings & vinegar blended with the vegetables.
I check on the potatoes & carrots — you want them to be getting pretty tender. Once they are, mix in the onions and pepper mix. Stir this all together and and then add the following spices: crushed red pepper, chili powder, tajin, Goya Adobo and some more black pepper for good measure. I am pretty liberal with my spices so I say do what your comfortable with. You can always start out slow and add more if you like
Mix it all up again and cover back up. Leave the heat at medium for a few minutes, then turn it down to medium-low. Stir it up again, then cover it for another 5 minutes. After that, add the sauce in and some more of the spices if you like, dump the chicken in and give it another good stirring. Cover and turn down to a simmer.
Now I start the rice. We use a rice cooker and it takes about 30 minutes for the rice to cook. That’s about how long I like to let the sauce simmer so the chicken soaks up the flavors and the vegetables all get nice and tender.
This is the hard part — the waiting game. I usually take this time to clean up the mess I just made, but not always. Tonight my little guy was being fussy as he’s got a new tooth coming in so I cuddled with him for a bit.
Ok, the rice is done! To plate I scoop on a good helping of white rice and then pour the sauce over it. Voilà!
Funny little story — I made this dish for my husband’s family in Senegal the last time I was there. I’ll be honest, I was quite nervous since it is relatively different then the original. But it was so fun cooking with the women and everyone loved it. There, we eat on shared platters. It’s much more social and intimate. We do the same at home when we have Senegalese visitors and I just love it.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe.
Let me know how it turns out!