Senegalese Jollof rice dish also is known as Ceebu Jen in Wolof language, riz au poisson or thiebou dieune in French, all of which literally means: rice and fish.
Pronounced ‘cheb-o-jen’ is the quintessential Senegalese dish. Literally translating as ‘fish with rice’. Senegal’s national dish comes in all shapes and sizes with recipes and techniques varying from family to family. At its core: a piece of fried or grilled local white fish, fluffy seasoned rice, and a flavor-rich tomato sauce, accompanied by a varying phalanx of steamed vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, manioc, aubergine, and sweet-sour tamarind called dahkar.
Originating in the northern city of Saint-Louis, this hearty, inexpensive meal has become a mainstay of coastal Senegalese menus, while its meaty cousin, ceebu yapp, tends to be found further inland.
How to Make Senegalese Jollof Rice and Fish
This thieboudienne recipe begins with soaking 2 cups of the rice while preparing the other ingredients.
Ingredients for the Fish and Stuffing
A handful of parsley about a heaping cup
3 cloves of garlic
1 scotch bonnet/ habanero pepper
1 tsp shrimp bouillon
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2.5 lbs blue snapper fish preferably cut into fish steaks or any white fish of your choice
Marinade the Fish
With a mortar and pistol or in a food processor, grind the parsley, garlic, scotch bonnet, bullion black pepper, and salt into a rough paste.
Poke two holes into the flesh of the fish and stuff them with the parsley mix. Broil or fry the fish until it is golden brown on each side, and set aside for the sauce
Ingredients for the Jollof Rice
2 cups of broken jasmine rice or regular jasmine rice (should be soaked in water)
1 sweet potato
1 purple eggplant
4 carrots I used orange purple and yellow carrots
1/2 a head of cabbage
2 bell peppers
3 scotch bonnet/ habanero peppers
For the sauce
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup tomato paste
1 large onion sliced
3 cloves of garlic
2 scotch bonnet/ habanero peppers I used green scotch bonnets, the color doesn’t really matter
3 tablespoon of shrimp bouillon
1 teaspoon of black pepper
Salt to taste
Grind Spices into Paste
In a mortar and with a pestle or in a food processor grind the scotch bonnet peppers and garlic into a rough paste.
Stew the Vegetables
Saute the sliced onions in the oil over medium heat until translucent. Add in the tomato paste, and stir fry for 5 minutes. The tomato paste may start to brown a little.
Add in the ground garlic and scotch bonnet and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add in bullion, black pepper, and 8 cups of water. At this stage, taste the sauce for salt, and adjust to your preference.
Add in the tough vegetable first to the sauce and cook until tender. In this case, add in the sweet potatoes, cook until tender and remove, then the carrots, cook until tender and remove. Continue adding in the vegetables until all the vegetables are cooked.
Set the cooked vegetables aside and then add in the fish and cook in the sauce for 2-5 minutes. Once the fish has simmered in the sauce for 2-5 minutes, gently remove it from the sauce.
Completing the Thieboudienne
At this point, drain the rice that has been cooking and pour it into the sauce. The sauce should just cover the rice. Adjust the amount of water at this stage if needed to make sure that the rice is just covered.
Cover the pot and simmer on low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes. You may seal the cover of the pot with foil to prevent steam from escaping.
At the 15 minute mark, check that the rice has absorbed the moisture and is soft. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes if it needs more time. If the water has dried up and the rice is still not soft, add in 4 tbsp of water, cover, and allow to cook. Serve the thieboudienne hot with the vegetables and fish, and lime wedges.