Chicken yassa

Inspired by their trip to Bristol, the Hairy Bikers make a warming chicken yassa style dish made with an abundance of onions marinated in Dijon mustard, lemon juice, ginger and chilli.

Chicken Yassa , a West African chicken dish served in a casserole dish on a table

Chicken yassa


6 - 8 people
Prep time
less than 30 minutes
Cooking time
30 mins to 1 hour


For the chicken and marinade

  • 1 onion, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 15g/½oz ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 1 Scotch bonnet chilli, finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in

For the gravy

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 250ml/9fl oz chicken stock
  • 100g/3½oz green pitted olives


  1. First mix all the marinade ingredients together and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken thighs. Coat thoroughly, then cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for several hours, preferably overnight.

  2. Take the chicken out of the fridge an hour before cooking to allow them to reach room temperature. Remove the thighs from the marinade and pat it dry. Retaining the marinade for later.

  3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, wide-based casserole or lidded sauté pan. When hot, add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook until well browned. Turn and cook the underside for a few more minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan.

  4. Add the onion and bay leaves and sauté on a low to medium heat until golden brown – it is important to get these quite caramelised. Add the reserved marinade to the pan and cook, stirring regularly for a few minutes until the base of the pan is completely deglazed.

  5. Add the stock and return the chicken pieces to the pan, skin-side up. Put the lid on and bring to the boil, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, turn down the heat and simmer until the chicken is completely cooked through and the sauce has reduced.

  6. Add the olives and heat for 1–2 minutes. Taste to check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper as necessary.

  7. Serve hot alongside rice or couscous.