Heard of Thieboudienne, or ceebu jen? It is a traditional, one pot, fish and stew dish that is well-liked in Senegal and gaining popularity far and wide. Due to its popularity most people would refer to this dish as Senegalese “national dish”.
This classic Senegalese dish derived its name from the Wolof tribe meaning “rice and fish”. According to one story, this dish was accidentally created by a cook at the colonial governor’s residence; rice was substituted in place of barley due to its shortage.
A wide variety of vegetables and fish can be used, making ceebu jen an extremely adaptable dish. Fish is scored, marinated with herbs and deep fried, then cooked in a tomato based sauce along with vegetables: carrots, green pepper/red pepper cassava, potatoes, and eggplant.
This dish has quickly become a household favorite. I have been singing its praises to anyone that would listen to my ramblings- you would think I was the brand representative for this dish- It is bursting with flavor with so many layers of delicious vegetables and spice, It is definitely a satisfying meal all by itself and do not have to order any specialty item.
You need a handful of smoked fish to infuse this dish .If you are not after tradition; you could easily ignore the smoked fish though I think they are an addition that deserves inclusion. This is what gives this dish its unique taste.
- 3 pounds fish of white firm - fleshed fish(whole or cut up into steaks)
- 1 cup of chopped parsley
- 1 cup of chopped green onions
- 1 large onion sliced
- 15 oz of tomatoes sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 cups uncooked short grain rice (I used basmatic rice)
- 2 pounds veggies (carrots, green pepper, eggplant)
- 2 pounds potatoes/ cassava
- 8- 10 cups of water
- 8 oz smoked fish
- Wash the fish carefully, drain, and pat dry with paper towels or a clean towel. Score or slit the fish 4 to 5 times on a slant across each side. If using fish steaks score once. Rub the fish with lemon and salt the fish and set aside.
- In a food processor or blender puree chopped parsley, green onions, garlic ,habanero pepper and Maggie
- Dowse fish in one portion of the parsley marinade. Flip the fish so that both sides are coated with the marinade, including the inside of the slashes. Let it set as you prepare the vegetables for the dish. It may be done an hour or two in advance; cover and refrigerate
- Clean and wash the vegetables ; potatoes and cassava(peel outer layer and cut into large chunks )
- Clean Carrots, eggplant, red and green pepper (cut into large chunks)
- Heat a Dutch oven or a wide heavy sauce-pan until hot; add 1 cup of oil;, swirl and heat for a few seconds, then lower in the fish and fry until fish is brown, around 3 minutes. Turn the fish around and brown for two minutes on the other side. Remove the fish and set aside
- Add the chopped onions and tomatoes sauce and include the remaining marinade for the fish (about 2 tablespoons), add Maggie and salt according to preference. let it simmer for about five minutes
- Pour in 6 cups of water, starting with cassava and potatoes about 5 minutes, then followed by eggplant, carrots and the peppers last, simmer for about 3 minutes or until tender. Remove the vegetables and set aside
- Finally add the rice and about 1-2 cups of water as needed. Adjust for seasonings to taste, add half of the fish. Cover and cook on very low heat on stove top for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and absorbs all the water. Stir occasionally being careful not to let the fish break up.
- Another option is to finish cooking the rice in the oven for about for about 10 minutes or until tender (if using an oven safe pan) This minimizes the stirring and prevents burning
- Remove and serve warm.