At Okra African Grill in Omaha, Togolese chef Nina Sodji serves this spicy anise-flavored chicken over rice. Her favorite sides:sauteed lightly seasoned bell peppers and Fried Plantains (recipe included). For extra kick, add the West African Green Pepper Sauce (recipe available on

Source: Midwest Living


Credit: Carson Downing

Recipe Summary

20 mins
3 hrs
4 1/2 cups sauce


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a blender, spice grinder or mini food processor, combine onion, anise seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, the peppercorns, cloves, 3 bay leaves and the water. Blend until creamy, adding more water if needed.

  • Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Add half of the onion mixture, 2 tablespoons oil and the lemon juice. Seal bag; turn to coat chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator 2 to 24 hours.

  • In large saucepan, combine stock; tomato paste; cayenne pepper; baking soda; and the remaining onion mixture, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, 1 bay leaf and 2 tablespoons oil. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, until reduced by about a third (4 1/2 cups), about 1 hour. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.

  • Oil grill rack or grill pan. Grill chicken, covered, over medium-high heat until done and grill marks form (165° for breasts; 170° for thighs), turning once halfway through grilling, 15 to 18 minutes. Tent chicken with foil; let rest 10 minutes.

  • Cut each chicken portion into three pieces and add to the sauce; heat through at least 3 minutes. Serve chicken with rice, if desired.

Make It a Bowl

At Okra African Grill, this chicken is served bowl-style, with sauteed or grilled seasoned bell peppers, as well as fried sweet plantains. To fry plantains: In a large skillet, heat oil to 325°F. Peel 2 or 3 ripe plantains and slice crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Carefully add half of the plantains to oil and fry until golden yellow in color, about 2 to 3 minutes. When they are starting to get golden brown on one side flip to the other and cook 2 to 3 minutes on the second side. With a spider or slotted spoon, remove the plantains from the pan and place them on a paper towel on a plate to catch the excess grease. Salt to taste while hot, adding a sprinkle of cayenne pepper if desired.

Nutrition Facts

172 calories; fat 6g; cholesterol 62mg; saturated fat 1g; carbohydrates 7g; mono fat 3g; poly fat 1g; insoluble fiber 1g; sugars 3g; protein 22g; vitamin a 512.1IU; vitamin c 6.2mg; thiamin 0.1mg; riboflavin 0.2mg; niacin equivalents 7.3mg; vitamin b6 0.6mg; folate 8.8mcg; vitamin b12 0.1mcg; sodium 711mg; potassium 475mg; calcium 25mg; iron 1.5mg.