Kedjenou Chicken

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Kedjenou a spicy stew that is slow-cooked in a terracotta pot over fire or coals. This tasty chicken is a very popular dish in Ivory Coast.
The resulting dish has a delicious concentration of chicken essence and tender meat. Try this, it’s worth your time. The taste is great.

What Is Kedjenou Made Of?

Kedjenou (also called kedjenou poulet and kedjenou de poulet) is typically a deliciously spicy meat and vegetable stew that is quite simple to prepare. It is often made with guinea fowl or chicken. Slow-cooked in a canari, a traditional earthenware pot that takes the shape of a jar with a narrow opening in a sealed clay pot with little or no liquid, the resulting dish is juicy, flavorful and tender.
The chicken is basted in its own juice in a “canary,” or earthenware jar, on a wood fire.  In Ivory Coast, this delectable chicken is a favorite meal.

Origin Of Kedjenou

This  tasty chicken is a very popular dish in Côte d’Ivoire, aka the Ivory Coast in English. The Ivory Coast is considered the cultural hub of West Africa. This place is home to around 60 ethnic groups, each with their own dialects and customs, as well as their own food legacies based on whatever they had available on land or by coast.
The dish is believed to have originated from Baoulé; an ethnic group in Ivory Coast. According to several sources, the word kedjenou comes from the Baoulé language which means to move or shake. While braising the chicken the pot is frequently shaken, vigorously, so that the chicken or sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
Côte d’Ivoire is actually known for its pottery made of high quality clay coming from the Savanes district in Boundiali and Korhogo. The slow cooking of this porous clay allows the end result to maintain its porous qualities as well as offer high heat resistant material, and therefore make a number of cooking equipment’s like the canari, but also vases and jars.

The canari, which is sealed with banana leaves and a string, is placed over fire or coals to allow the kedjenou to cook.

Although preparation methods for kedjenou often vary, most of them do not call for any liquid to be added, to allow the chicken to cook in its own juices, which helps tenderize the meat and concentrates the flavors. This technique is very similar to the smothering (etouffée) technique used in the tagines from North Africa, where the moisture mostly comes from the onions and the meat.

How To Make Kedjenou

Kedjenou can be made with variety of meats like chicken, pork, beef and even seafood. But Kedjenou chicken, or Kedjenou de Poulet, is more popular and you will certainly find it on the menus of their maquis, small open air restaurants unique to Côte d’Ivoire.

Every family has their special take on this favorite stew. What remains constant is the hotness that they get from those cute little hot peppers.

I know the name is a little peculiar, but not its ingredients. They are the very same we use in our every day life, and this can be very easily made in a western kitchen.

This is what you need;

  • Chicken – They use whole chicken cut into pieces with skin on. You can make it with any cut. We like our bone-in thighs or drumsticks, or even wings for this stew. We like it skinless, as we are not fans of stewed skin.
  • Vegetables – Onion, green onions, tomatoes, bell peppers (we are using green, yellow and red) and eggplant. These create the base for the stew.
  • Aromatics – Ginger and garlic.
  • Hot peppers – We are using habanero, but any other hot peppers would do, like scotch bonnet. Don’t get carried away by how cute they look, they are HOT BOMBS!
  • Thyme – Fresh is great, but you can use dried.
  • Smoked paprika – This really gives a distinctive flavor.
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Chicken bouillon cube

Although you may not be able to find a canari, you can absolutely make kedjenou in a Dutch oven or a tagine. You may or may not include oil, as the smothering cooking technique allows cooking without any fat. . This can be made on stove top, in your oven, or even your slow cooker.

How To Bake Kedjenou In Your Oven

After layering your chicken and vegetables, just put the dutch oven in a preheated oven at 350°F for an hour, or until chicken is fall off the bone. Shake the pot once or twice without opening the lid.

How To Use Crock Pot For Kedjenou

Dump everything in your slow cooker and cook 3 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low and forget it till it’s done.

What Do I Serve Kedjenou With?

Ivoirians love their stew with a side of attiéké, which is a cous cous like dish made from fermented and grated cassava or yucca root. It is one staple that goes with anything in Côte d’Ivoire. If you want a super authentic experience, you can find it some African specialty grocery stores. Otherwise, it goes great with rice. That worked for us. 🙂

What Variations of Kedjenou Can I Try?

You can try the same recipe for other meats, though the cooking time will vary. Sometimes fish or shell fish is added along with the meats.

Some people first fry the chicken in a little oil to get the brown color to add extra flavor. Other vegetables that commonly find their way into this pot are carrots, potatoes and okra.

Facts About Kedjenou

  1. Attiéké is a couscous-like side dish made from grated and fermented cassava. Instant boxed versions can be found in many Middle Eastern or African ethnic markets.
  2. Kedjenou can also be cooked on the stovetop. Bring the ingredients to a simmer over medium heat. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You will need to shake it a little more often than the oven-baked version to keep it from sticking.
  3. Lower-fat Version: Remove the skin from the chicken and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of peanut oil.
  4. Some (mostly French) recipes call for first browning the chicken in peanut oil and saute the onions. While this adds flavor to the dish, it is not strictly authentic.
  5. You can add 1/2 cup water or chicken stock to the pot at the beginning if it looks way too dry. The tomatoes should give off enough liquid though that this shouldn’t be necessary.

Enjoy your stew!


Kedjenou is a traditional spicy stew from Côte d'Ivoire that is typically prepared with chicken or guinea hen, and served with attieke or white rice.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine African, Côte d'Ivoire, Ivoirian
Servings 4


  • Chicken cut into serving pieces
  • Eggplant seeded and chopped
  • 1 large Tomatoes seeded and chopped
  • 2 or 3 Onions thinly sliced
  • 2 Hot chile peppers chopped
  • 2 or 3Garlic, minced
  • 2 or 3 cloves
  • Ginger minced
  • tbsp Thyme
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to season


  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Add all the ingredients to a large oven-proof pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cover the pot with one or two layers of aluminum foil and place the lid on top of the foil.
  • Place the pot in the oven and bake for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Remove the pot from the oven occasionally and shake it to keep the chicken from sticking.
  • Remove the pot from the oven. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot with couscous, attiéké (see note), rice, or boiled yams.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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