Authentic Spicy Chicken Yassa (Gambian-Style)
1 jar Yassa sauce
4-5 large pieces bone-in skinless chicken thighs
1-2 habanero peppers (you decide)
½ tsp salt or 1 small bouillon cube crushed
¼ cup oil
1 large yellow onion sliced or diced
1 large red bell pepper diced or sliced
1 large sweet potato cut into 4-5 chunks
1 cup water
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (no substitutions please)
Place chicken pieces in a re-sealable, heavy-duty food storage bag. Measure out ¼ cup Yassa sauce and pour into it; add one finely chopped habanero and bouillon cube or salt. Close securely and squeeze to coat chicken pieces. Marinate in refrigerator overnight or for up to 24-48 hours.
Remove chicken from marinade; reserve marinade. Chicken may be cooked three different ways. For extra authenticity cook over a gas or charcoal grill. Preheat gas grill to medium-high heat; grill covered until slightly charred but not done on both sides. Alternatively, heat oil in a large and heavy-bottomed pan to medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan and cook until well browned; 6-8 minutes per side. You may also broil the chicken in the oven until charred on both sides. Place cooked chicken in a bowl and loosely cover to keep warm.
If broiling or grilling, heat the oil in a large and heavy-bottomed pan to medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and second habanero (if using both) to pan; cook until soft and caramelized. If pan frying, after browning chicken and removing from pan, add onions, bell peppers and second habanero (if using both); cook until soft and caramelized.
After caramelizing the onions and peppers, return the chicken with any accumulated juices back to the pan. Pour the cup of water into the bag of reserved marinade and shake to release all the marinade; add to pan along with remaining Yassa sauce. Bring to a boil and immediately turn down to a simmer. Simmer covered for 30 minutes.
Add sweet potato and simmer covered for another 15 minutes. Add frozen mixed vegetables; remove lid and simmer uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat, add lime juice and stir. Test for salt. Allow to sit on stove uncovered for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve over Jasmine or Basmati rice, Couscous or Quinoa. Awesome with a side salad, coleslaw and good hearty bread to mop up the sauce.
Recipe can be easily doubled or tripled for large gatherings and dinner parties.