Thursday, April 30, 2009

National Dish of Senegal

Upon request, a recipe for the National Dish of Senegal as copied directly out of Kay Lekk, the PCV Senegal cookbook.  I've also included fish balls, which can be added to ceebu jen to make it super good (or so I've heard, I've never had them):

Ceebu Jen 


1 med onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic


.5-1 kg fish, clean a cut into large pieces

4 T tomato paste

.5 kg tomatoes, mashed

1 jaxatu, whole

Available vegetables (eggplant, carrot, squash, manioc, potato, cabbage, etc.)

1 hot pepper, whole

salt & pepper

1 Maggi cube (Note from Ellen: this is a bullion cube with a lot of MSG, very tasty)

5 cups rice (unbroken is best)


Wash all vegetables and peel or cut them as desired (in general vegetables are simply cut in half, if that).  Saute onion and garlic in a large pot until soft.  Add enough oil to cover the bottom to at least 1 cm depth.  Heat the oil, then add the fish pieces (reserving one).  Fry the fish, turning it so it is brown on both sides.  Set the fried fish aside.  Combine the tomato paste and fresh tomatoes, and add this mixture to along with the one remaining piece of fish to the onions and oil in the pot.  Cook fish slightly on both sides, then fill pot 3/4ths with water.  Add vegetables and hot pepper; stir well.  Cover pot and allow vegetables to stew until soft (about 30-40 minutes).  For the last  five minutes put the pre-fried fish back into the pot.  Then remove all fish and vegetables until only water remains.  Set all solids aside.  Ass rice and seasonings.  You may have to add more water in order to cook the rice.  There should be twice as much liquid as rice, so 8-10 cups of water for 5 cups of rice.  Bring to boil, then turn down heat and cover, cooking until all water is absorbed (about 30-40 minutes).  If there is too much water, cook the final minutes with the top off.  For those of you who like the burned rice from the bottom of the pot (Note from Ellen: it is seriously very good, I highly recommend it), less water and more oil is key.  When done put rice in large bowl and arrange the fish and vegetables in the center (add slices of lemon to squeeze on the rice if you like).  5-7 servings.

Fish Balls


3 sm fish, deboned

3/4ths cup peanut butter

1 green onion

salt & pepper

1 Maggi cube

1 clove garlic

1/2 hot pepper



Pound the ingredients with mortar and pestel (except oil) until well mixed.  Make into gumball-sized balls, coating fingers with oil as you roll them.  Fry in oil until dark brow. These are an excellent addition to ceebu jen.

Translation Note: 'ceeb' means 'rice,' 'u' means 'of' and 'jen' means 'fish.'  So it is literally 'rice of fish.'

1 comment:

e.e. said...

Going to try it!