Senegalese Chicken with Basmati Rice

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This comfort dish from Western Africa involves a brief marinade and results in tender chicken in a sweet, spicy, lemony sauce.

Time 3 hrs
Servings 4
Difficulty Easy





  • ½ cup Neitral oil
  • 1 ½ lbs Chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut in half horizontally
  • 4 large Yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ cup Lemon juice
  • ½ cup Cider vinegar
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp Cayenne powder
  • ½ tsp Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp Salt


  • 1 ¾ cups Water
  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1 tsp Salt


  • 2 tbsp Neutral oil
  • For garnish Parsley, chopped


  • In a large container or zip-lock bag, combine neutral oil, chicken, onions, lemon juice, cider vinegar, bay leaf, garlic, Dijon mustard, cayenne, black pepper and salt. Marinate for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours.
  • In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in rice and salt and return to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let steam, covered, for 5 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from marinade, reserving marinade. In a large skillet, heat neutral oil over medium-high. Add chicken and saute for two minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Use a slotted spoon to scoop the onions out of the marinade and add to the same hot skillet. Cook until they are soft and starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add remaining marinade and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Return the chicken and drippings to the sauce. Cover and simmer until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 75°C / 165°F, about another 10 minutes.
  • Using a fork, fluff the rice. Serve chicken over rice.


  • Alternatively, you can use chicken thighs but cooking time will differ 
  • Alternatively, you can serve chicken with fried plantain or sauteed spinach or kale
  • If you prefer, garnish chicken with chopped green olives