3 ene 2011

Senegalese Thieboudienne

Thieboudienne, or ceebu jen, is a traditional dish from Senegal. It is made from fish, rice and tomato sauce. Its other ingredients are onions and peanut oil. All these ingredients are found in abundance in the country. The name of the dish comes from Wolof, meaning rice and fish.

Thieboudienne (rice and Fish Stew)
3 lb sea bass tail
2 lb broken rice
½ lb pound pumpkin
½ lb sweet cassava
9 cups cold water
1x6 ounce can tomato paste
3” piece smoked fish (any firm white will do)
12 small okra pods
5 small purple turnips
5 carrots
4 sweet potatoes
2 large onions
2 scallions
2 small eggplants
2 large cloves garlic
1 small green cabbage
1 bunch parsley
1 fresh bird chilli
1 habanero chilli
4 Tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp salt

How to cook it:
Dissolve the salt in the water.
Prepare the vegetables as follows:
Peel and dice both the pumpkin and cassava into 1 inch pieces. Wash, top and tail the okra pods, making sure you have no hard pods. Quarter the turnips and sweet potatoes. Peel the carrots and cut into 1 inch rounds. Cut the eggplants into 1 inch slices. Cut the cabbage into 8 pieces. Mince the onions.
Prepare the sea bass by cleaning and cut into 1 ½ inch thick steaks, score the steaks with a sharp knife.
Prepare the stuffing for the sea bass steaks by placing the parsley, garlic, bird chilli and scallions in a food processor and pulsing until they form a thick paste. When the paste is ready poke the stuffing into the slits, previously made by scoring the sea bass steaks
Heat the oil in a large stockpot and brown the onion. Add the smoked fish, tomato paste and ¼ cup of the salted water. When the onion has browned, place the sea bass in the pot with the onion mixture and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining water. Bring to the boil, cover and lower the heat. Add the vegetables as follows: pumpkin, sweet cassava, turnips, cabbage, sweet potatoes, eggplants, carrots, okra and habanero chilli. Remove and reserve the habanero chilli when the Thiebou Dienn is spicy enough to taste.
Cook for 20 minutes.
Remove the sea bass steaks, keeping them whole, and place them on a serving platter. Cover with a little of the cooking liquid and keep warm.
Cook the Thiebou Dienn for a further 15 minutes, thereafter removing the vegetables and arranging them on a platter. Keep warm.
Reserve 2 cups of the liquid to make the sauces.
Bring the remaining liquid to the boil, add the rice, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is done.
While the rice is cooking, pulverize the habanero chili and add it to 1 cup of the reserved liquid. Heat, stirring occasionally, and place it in a sauce dish.
Heat the remaining cup of liquid and place in a separate sauce dish.
When ready to serve, mound the rice on one platter and the fish and vegetables on another. Alternatively, place the rice in a deep dish, arrange the vegetables and fish on top, and eat Senegalese-style with your right hand (only!) or with a large spoon.
Add, whichever sauce you prefer, the one with or without the habanero chili according to your taste.
You and your guests or family will undoubtedly find this Senegalese Rice and Fish Stew well worth the trouble taken in it's preparation. Apart from using canned tomato paste, the recipe is the same as that which would have been taken to America and the Caribbean by slaves transported from Senegal, one of the areas, heavily raided by slave traders.
Serves 8-10

© Text and image: Wikipedia / Recipe: www.africhef.com

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