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Senegalese Braised Chicken with Onions and Lime (Yassa Ginaar)

4 Servings

1¼ hours plus marinating

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With just a few ingredients, yassa ginaar delivers multiple layers of flavor—savory yet sweet with lightly caramelized onions, citrusy with lime zest and juice, meaty from the deeply browned chicken, and spicy from the heat of a habanero chili. Our version is based on a recipe in “Yolele!” by Pierre Thiam, who marinates then sears the chicken, then uses the marinade as a base for the flavorful sauce. Bouillon concentrate adds to the savoriness of the dish; our preferred brand is Better than Bouillon. Serve with steamed rice.




Don't marinate the chicken for longer than two hours; the acidity of the lime juice will soften the meat. Likewise, don't use an uncoated cast-iron pot. The lime's acidity will react with the metal, causing the sauce to taste metallic.

1¼ hours

plus marinating


  • 4

    tablespoons peanut oil, divided

  • 3

    tablespoons grated lime zest, plus 6 tablespoons lime juice


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Maxine R.
April 7, 2023
So flavorful!
Loved this recipe! Used drumsticks as that was what I had and it was delicious!
Richelle M.
January 26, 2023
Perfect for cold nights
A definite addition to our winter menu at home.
Anjie C.
August 10, 2022
Family favorite
This is a regular on our house menu. My kids (13 & 11) love this dish and ask for it often (once 3 times in one week!). I have to double the recipe (even though it’s just 4 of us), so that we have leftovers for the next day.
Dana D.
May 26, 2022
So good!
Very easy and delicious! Definitely getting put into the rotation!
John S.

Where is the note on the CHICKEN BOUILLON CONCENTRATE?

Janelle C.

Hi John,

As stated in the recipe description, "Bouillon concentrate adds to the savoriness of the dish; our preferred brand is Better than Bouillon."

The Milk Street Team

Busboom S.

The HABANERO pepper is the hottest pepper--140 times hotter than a jalapeño pepper. Should I just omit this pepper or is there a substitute?

Janelle C.

Hi Busboom,

If you're worried about the heat level we'd recommend using half or omitting it from the recipe.

The Milk Street Team

Nancy S.

Where is the ‘Note’ that is supposed to tell you about the Chicken Bouillon Concentrate... what do we do with it? Mix it up per package instructions and add it to the recipe??????

Janelle C.

As stated in the recipe description, "Bouillon concentrate adds to the savoriness of the dish; our preferred brand is Better than Bouillon."

The Milk Street Team

Lori O.

Delicious! Served with couscous instead of rice which was perfect for absorbing the sauce and onions. Another Milk Street winner!

Charles G.

I have made often and love it. I don’t use the pepper at all. This gets even better the next day. One of the best dishes I make from milk street.

Barbara K.

I lived in Senegal back in the 90s. This was my favorite dish. I love the Milk Street recipe- very authentic taste! Thank you!!!

Laura R.

What great flavor! I used thighs, which my family prefers, and they were incredible tender and cooked perfectly. Great recipe. I also used the habanero pepper. I didn't really feel any heat from it at all. I'd imagine the cooking process takes some of that out. The salt in the marinade makes it so that you don't have to salt it at all when you are eating it. It was perfect for me, not too salty. For anyone looking for the Better than Bouillon that is recommended, Whole Foods carries it if you have one around you. It is not a dried cube. It is a gel and in a jar and easily measured. Also, the note is clearly in the description of the dish which is right on top of this page.

Michael L.

I just watched the TV episode featuring this recipe on PBS here in San Francisco. An important omission seems to have been made in the video. After the chicken was browned and removed, the onions added to the pot, water was added to deglaze, but the chicken wasn't added back to the pot to finish cooking. After 15 minutes passed, the lid was taken off, <voila!> the chicken was in the pot. The recipe makes it clear that it should be added when the onions were added. The video doesn't indicate when the chicken should be added to the pot. Also, in the written recipe, the reserved marinade paste was added with the onions and chicken, then cooked. The TV version removes the chicken and adds the paste off heat. Just wondered if anyone else noted this omission in the TV presentation? I admit I haven't tried this recipe, but it does look appealing.

Lynn C.

Hi Michael - Normally, when we don't shoot a step we will mention that we did that step off camera, but in this case I think this segment needed to be edited in post-production for time (since we did, in fact, shoot that step). This usually happens when we end up with some great travel footage and want to be able to fit it all in! For the paste, I think there's some confusion with the wording. The reserved marinade (the liquid leftover after marinating the chicken) should be added to the pot and cooked with the onions and chicken. The oil-zest paste should be added off the heat. Hope that clears it up!

The Milk Street Team

Nancy E.

Wow. This is really, really good. And so easy. I didn’t have a habanero pepper, so I used Serrano. Next time I will get the habanero. I am just one person, so I halved the recipe. I wish I had used the full amount of onions because they are so delicious.

Peter Chris S.

After a run of successes from Milk Street, this was the first recipe that isn't a keeper. It takes quite a bit of time for so few ingredients (30 minutes prep, almost an hour to cook), makes quite a mess (cutting board, zester, squeezer, knife, measuring cup, marinating bowl, colander, draining bowl, plate, pot), and the results are... fine. Not great, just fine.

Tricia S.

I was a bit disappointed in my own results, but it may be because of adjustments I made for what I had on hand: chicken stock instead of water and bouillon; skinless thighs [I upped the oil for cooking to replace the chicken fat]. I also used half of a super-hot habanero, and I wish I'd used the whole thing because the heat cooked out. It was good but not memorable, despite all the zest and lime juice. The onions didn't caramelize at all after soaking in the marinade, although well drained. I'll try it again someday with the skin-on chicken/bouillon, but it does take a good bit of prep time and a messy kitchen for only one part of a meal.