Among the rice dishes prepared in Senegal, a country situated in West Africa, the most popular is Thiebou dieune (pronounced “chebu jen”), which is a richly flavored combination of fresh fish, rice, and vegetables. Thieb, in local Wolof language, means rice, while dieune means fish
This dish requires 30–40 minutes of preparation and about an hour and a half of cooking time.
For this recipe, a wide variety of vegetables and fish can be used, making Thiebou dieune a versatile and healthy dish. Broken rice is preferred because it seems to better absorb the sauce and is more pleasing to the taste than long-grain rice.
Ingredients (Serves 4–5)
- 1 large fish (about 2 kg, preferably a grouper or any other white fish), rinsed and cut into 4 large chunks
- 250 grams tomato concentrate
- 1 cup peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 kg rice (Senegalese prefer to use broken rice for this recipe, but you can use normal rice)
- 100 grams dried fish such as stockfish, rinsed
- 200 grams carrots, peeled
- 200 grams cassava, peeled
- 1 small cabbage cut in quarters
- 4 okra (optional)
- 4 sweet potatoes, peeled
- 2 eggplants with their stems removed and cut in half
- 4 small turnips, peeled
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 green chili peppers
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 1 small green bell pepper
- 1 Jumbo cube (if not available, substitute it with a fish- or shrimp-flavored Maggi cube)
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- Deseed and cut the bell pepper in half. Slice the onion and finely chop the parsley. Peel the garlic clove and cut it into two pieces.
- Make a paste by grinding together the parsley, half of the chili pepper, a half tablespoon of the black pepper, and half of the garlic clove with a mortar and pestle or in a grinder. Add a pinch of salt.
- Using a knife, make a slit in each chunk of fish, but be careful not to cut all the way through. Stuff the slits with this paste.
- Heat 2–3 inches of oil in a large pan and fry the fish for 3–4 minutes on both sides. Remove the fish and set aside.
- In the same pan, fry half of the sliced onion and half of the bell pepper and chili pepper. Add the tomato concentrate (dilute it with a little water), let it simmer for 2–3 minutes, pour 1 liter of water on it, and add salt. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes.
- Add all the vegetables and the rinsed dried fish along with the remaining chili peppers, then cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
- Grind together the remaining black pepper, garlic, and onion, and the remaining half of the bell pepper with the Jumbo cube.
- Pour this paste into the pan and add the fried fish. Reduce the heat and then simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the fish pieces and all the vegetables with a little sauce. Leave the rest of the sauce in the pan.
- Wash the rice and half-cook it (preferably using a steamer). Remove the half-cooked rice from the steamer and stir it in the pan with the remaining sauce.
- Cook it for 15 minutes (stir every 5 minutes).
- Spoon the cooked rice onto a large serving platter, arrange the fish and vegetables over the rice, and garnish with lemon wedges.
Mrs. Dieng is a Senegalese national who lives with her husband and two children in Cotonou, Benin. She holds a bachelor’s degree in management assistance and works in Corporate Services at the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice).When she’s not busy at work, she loves cooking big meals for friends and family.