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Chicken yassa with hasselback sweet potato


Serves: 4
timePrep time: 45 mins
timeTotal time:
Chicken yassa with hasselback sweet potato
Recipe photograph by Kris Kirkham

Chicken yassa with hasselback sweet potato

Yassa is a Senegalese dish which can be cooked not only with chicken but also lamb and fish

Serves: 4
timePrep time: 45 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)
Calories
818Kcal
Fat
41gr
Saturates
10gr
Carbs
82gr
Sugars
19gr
Fibre
9gr
Protein
25gr
Salt
3.2gr

William Chilila

William Chilila

A Masterchef: The Professionals semi-finalist, Zambian-born William spent a decade honing his skills at Orrery, the legendary Conran restaurant in London. In 2020, he went on to head up the kitchen at West African fine dining restaurant Akoko. He is now working on new projects to fully realise his passion of bringing the cuisine of his homeland to a wider audience.
See more of William Chilila’s recipes
William Chilila

William Chilila

A Masterchef: The Professionals semi-finalist, Zambian-born William spent a decade honing his skills at Orrery, the legendary Conran restaurant in London. In 2020, he went on to head up the kitchen at West African fine dining restaurant Akoko. He is now working on new projects to fully realise his passion of bringing the cuisine of his homeland to a wider audience.
See more of William Chilila’s recipes

Ingredients

For the chicken yassa
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tbsp flaky sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 large or 5 small onions, sliced thinly
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)
  • 100g tomato purée
  • 500ml chicken stock (made using 1 stock pot or cube) - use gluten-free stock if required
  • nutmeg, to serve
For the sweet potatoes
  • 4 sweet potatoes, 150g-175g each (white-fleshed if possible)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
For the fragrant rice (or serve with plain rice)
  • 1 large or 2 medium shallots, diced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200g jasmine rice
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bashed
  • 500ml chicken stock (made with 1 stock pot or cube)
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced

Step by step

Get ahead
Marinate the chicken overnight.
  1. For the chicken, dry fry the mustard seeds until aromatic then grind together with the salt. Tip into a large mixing bowl and add the dried thyme, garlic granules and spices, followed by the onions, garlic, oil and lemon juice. Mix well, then add the chicken thighs and mix again. Cover and marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Heat a flameproof casserole on the hob. Lift the chicken thighs from the onion mixture and fry on a fairly high heat, turning occasionally until they are golden brown all over (you shouldn’t need any oil).
  3. Reduce the heat, add the tomato purée and cook for 1-2 minutes, turning the chicken pieces to coat. Tip the onions and marinade into the casserole and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to soften.
  4. Meanwhile, scrub the sweet potatoes clean and pat dry with kitchen paper. Take each potato and take a thin slice off one side to give it a stable base. Place a chopstick or wooden spoon handle on either side of the potato then make vertical cuts every 5mm – the chopsticks will stop you from slicing all the way through. Place in a baking dish. Melt the coconut oil and stir in the spices, thyme and seasoning then brush all over the potatoes.
  5. Returning to the chicken, pourin the stock, bring to a simmer, cover and transfer to the oven, with the dish of potatoes on the top shelf. Cook for 30 minutes or until the chicken is really tender.
  6. Remove the casserole andleave to rest. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Fan the sweet potatoes out with a fork to separate the slices and baste with the spiced oil. Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes or until tender in the centre and crispy on the outside.
  7. For the fragrant rice, soften the shallots in the oil for 5-6 minutes then stir in the rice and the lemongrass and cook for 1 minute, stirring, before adding the stock. Bring to the boil, stir once then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Leave to cook undisturbed for 18-20 minutes; the rice should have absorbed all the stock. Discard the lemongrass and scatter over the spring onions.
  8. Put some cooked rice on each plate, top with a chicken thigh then spoon the onions and sauce over. Put a sweet potato alongside, and finish with a fresh grating of nutmeg.
Chef quote
Growing up on a farm, we had chickens running around and a backyard filled with all sorts of crops, from maize to yams, and we always had an array of vegetables. One of those vegetables was sweet potatoes, which would be steamed then roasted.

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