Fataya is a deep fried pastry, filled with chicken or fish yassa, french fries, and fried egg. A combination of ketchup and hot sauce is poured over the top, creating a unique experience every time you take a bite.
What is Senegal? If you aren’t familiar, Senegal is the furthest West country in all of Africa. It’s further west than any other country in the Old World! Senegal has a population of 16 million, with almost 3 million in the capital of Dakar. Chief agricultural products include: peanuts, sugarcane, cotton, green beans, tomatoes, melons, and mangoes. Tourism and hospitality are large industries too. The official language is French!
5% of Senegal’s exports seems to be peanut oil, so we are going to be frying with it instead of the usual canola. They don’t eat pork much in Senegal. 95% of the population is Muslim, so chicken or fish are the choices for our fataya meat filling.Jump to Recipe
First, I’ll focus on the part of the filling that might be unfamiliar. Yassa sauce is fantastic just by itself. It’s made with onions, peanut oil, lemon juice, peppers, garlic, and Dijon mustard. I dare say it’s the perfect marinade. Sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy. If you aren’t sure if you’ll like fataya, try just the chicken yassa by itself. It’s wildly popular throughout Africa!
For the fataya, the yassa is the base of the filling. The french fries and eggs provide some extra fat and richness that the chicken is missing. Some use fish instead of chicken in their filling. Traditionally, the people of Senegal marinate the chicken overnight. I think you can get away with 3 hours, but not less.
I’ll admit, I’m not great with dough. I don’t have much experience with it (getting better now, just made my own flatbread for this Tunisian sandwich). The fataya is deep fried, so I thought empanada dough would work well. No experience there either. So, I used this empanada dough recipe. I thought it worked out well. Nice and flaky!
As for alternatives, I’m not sure yet. A tube of biscuit dough might work. It should have a lot of butter and result in a flaky pastry. Don’t quote me on that. I haven’t tried it yet.
This fataya recipe is halal as well as kosher. Obviously, there’s chicken in it so not vegan or vegetarian. Also, don’t eat it if you are allergic to peanuts. Not gluten-free either, cause you know, flour.
If you think about it, fataya is kind of like a dumpling. I have a motherload of dumplings. For another recipe with french fries, try my lomo saltado, or papa a la huancaina for non fried potatoes. Or, for more street food, Honduran baleadas!
- a pot of peanut oil
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 lemons juiced
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 onions diced
- ½ cup peanut oil
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ½ tbsp hot sauce
- 4 chicken thighs
- 2¼ cup flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup water (cold)
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- ½ cup butter
- 3 russet potatoes
Fried Egg (Optional)
- 3 eggs
- Mix all the yassa sauce ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
- Score the top of the chicken thighs so the marinade can get deeper.
- Put the thighs in a container and pour the yassa sauce on top. Mix well. Let it marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Then take it out and let it sit on the counter, covered for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Sift the flour and combine ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cube in the butter in small pieces. Mix the dough until it starts coming together. Break apart any butter pieces bigger than a pea.
- Knead the dough just a couple times, then cover and rest in the fridge for an hour.
Cook The Chicken
- Take the chicken out of the sauce. Add a tbsp of peanut oil to a large skillet. Cook the chicken on both sides, about 4 minutes each. Then, add the yassa sauce. Cover and simmer on medium low heat for 40 minutes, turning chicken over at halfway mark.
- Take the chicken out and shred the meat and skin off the bone.
- While chicken is marinating and dough is resting, cut the potatoes into short french fries. Fill a pot with a couple inches of oil. Heat up and fry at 350 F for about 8 minutes, or until fries are golden brown.
Fry The Egg (optional)
- Fry a few eggs in a skillet, at least medium, not runny. Chop up the eggs after.
- Take the dough out and roll it out. Cut it into at least 7 rectangles. Fill the dough with chicken, french fries, and egg. Dip your finger in water and run it along the edges. Fold the dough over and seal it along the edges. Press the edges with a fork on both sides to ensure it is closed. Repeat until all dough is used.
- Fry the fatayas in a pot of peanut oil, 2 at a time for about 5 minutes each, or until golden brown. Serve with ketchup and hot sauce.
Want more food from Senegal? Check out all the wonderful Senegalese dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Café Touba (Senegalese Spiced Coffee) #eattheworld
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: The Kitchen Elves’ Senegalese-Style Gumbo
Pandemonium Noshery: Poulet Yessa – Senegalese Chicken
CulturEatz: Senegalese Mango Chocolate Pound Cake
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Maafe
Making Miracles: Senegalese Poulet Yassa
Sneha’s Recipe: Poulet Yassa -Senegalese Style Chicken
Kitchen Frau: Mafé (Senegalese Beef & Peanut Stew)
The Schizo Chef: Senegalese Sweet Potato Shrimp Fritters