Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

West African Chicken by

West African Chicken

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West African Chicken
Many versions of this lemony chicken are served in West Africa, often over rice or couscous.

3-1/2 pounds chicken legs and thighs
3 or 4 sprigs oregano or marjoram
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 to 5 tablespoons corn or peanut oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup fresh shredded coconut
2 large onions
2 cloves garlic
2 hot chili peppers
2 cup coarsely chopped plum tomatoes
1 bay leaf

Preheat the broiler. Trim away visible fat from chicken. Wash chicken under cold water and dry with paper towels. Chop fresh oregano or marjoram. Rub herb all over the chicken, and then sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. Generously oil a shallow boiler pan. Place chicken in the pan in a single layer. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil over the chicken.

Set the pan under the broiler, 6 inches from the heat. Broil chicken for about 5 minutes (or until golden brown). Turn and brown 5 minutes on the other side. Remove the pan from the oven. Pour lemon juice over chicken. Sprinkle coconut over chicken and set aside.

Reset the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Slice onions, mince garlic and finely dice chilies. Heat the remaining oil in a medium skillet. Add onions, garlic and chilies and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir in tomatoes and bay leaf and cook over low heat, stirring, for 15 minutes longer.

Return chicken to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn chicken, pour tomato sauce on top and bake until chicken is tender and brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving. Serve over rice or couscous.

About Sanura

Art Director/Senior Graphic Designer at Food Writer at


This entry was posted on December 16, 2012 by in 2012 and tagged , , , , .

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Learn more about Kwanzaa

The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." Kwanzaa's extra "a" evolved as a result of a particular history of the Organization Us. It was clone as an expression of African values in order to inspire the creativity of our children. In the early days of Us, there were seven children who each wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa. Since kwanza (first) has only six letters, we added an extra "a" to make it seven, thus creating "Kwanzaa." To learn more about Kwanzaa, visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.

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