Thursday, December 30, 2010


My little sister Molly spent a summer teaching English in Senegal. We had planned to cook Senegalese food together over Christmas, but since I had my annual deathcold I had no motivation to leave the couch and the cat and she probably didn't want me near food anyway, she did all the work. Here's what she says about Senegalese cuisine and what she made:

"The national meal of Senegal is ceebu jen, or "fish rice," which is basically fish and vegetables served over rice in a fish sauce.  Since I don't eat fish and am still traumatized from being served ceebu jen day in and day out, I instead suggested yassa poulet ("chicken yassa"), another classic dish, for the blog. Senegalese cuisine is very West African with some French influences.  Meals are eaten by hand (or sometimes with a spoon) from a communal platter, often with a side of crisp French bread.  According to Muslim tradition it's considered rude to eat with one's left hand; given that toilet paper is extremely uncommon, the left hand serves another purpose..."

Anyway, this meal was delicious. Thanks, Molly!

Yassa Poulet

Combine the following in a marinade:
-Lemon juice (~ 3 lemons' worth)
-Chilis (powder and/or a small amount of diced)
-A little oil (peanut oil is best because of its high flashpoint and more authentic flavor, but vegetable/canola can be substituted)
-Salt and pepper
-two medium onions, chopped
-Water if more liquid is needed to cover the bottom half of the chicken.

Marinate chicken--a cut-up whole chicken is best, but thighs and breasts are also okay--for at least 3 hours, turning once.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and fry it with some oil until browned on both sides.  Place the chicken aside.  Remove the onions from the marinade and saute them slowly until tender.  Add the marinade, bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat with the chicken for ~30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve communally over white rice or couscous.  Remember to eat with your right hand!

The marinade is ready to go

Stabbing the meat to help the marinade penetrate. Molly enjoyed that part.

Ready to eat!

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