Africa Rice Recipes
Thiebou dieune : Senegal’s rice and fish dish
A number of rice dishes are prepared in Senegal, a country situated in West Africa. But the most popular rice dish is ‘Thiebou dieune ’, a richly flavored combination of fresh fish, rice and vegetables.
The name of the dish is derived from ‘ Thieb ’, which in local Wolof language means rice and ‘ dieune ’, which means fish.
Mrs Mariama Dieng, from Senegal, who works at the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), will show you how Thiebou dieune is prepared. This dish requires about 30-40 minutes of preparation time and about 1 and 1/2 hours of cooking time.
To prepare Thiebou dieune for 4 persons, you will need the following ingredients:
•1 large (about 2-kg) fish (preferably a grouper or any other white fish), rinsed and cut into 4 large chunks
•250 grams of tomato concentrate
•1/2 liter of peanut or vegetable oil
•1 kg of rice (Senegalese prefer to use broken rice for this recipe, but you can use normal rice)
•100 grams of dried fish such as stockfish rinsed
•200 grams of carrots peeled
•200 grams of cassava peeled
•1 small cabbage chopped into large chunks
•4 okra (optional)
•4 sweet potatoes peeled
•2 eggplants with the stems removed and cut in two
•4 small turnips peeled
•1 clove garlic
•3 green chilli peppers
•1 bunch fresh parsley
•1 small green bell pepper
•1 Jumbo cube (if you are unable to find it, you could substitute a fish- or shrimp-flavored Maggi cube)
•Salt to taste
•1 tablespoon black pepper
1.Deseed and cut in half the bell pepper. Slice the onion and chop finely the parsley. Peel the garlic clove and cut into 2 pieces.
2.Make a paste by grinding together the parsley, half of the bell pepper, 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.
3.Using a knife, make a hole in each chunk of fish, but be careful not to make the cut all the way through. Stuff the holes with this paste.
4.Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a large pan and fry the fish pieces for about 3-4 minutes on both sides. Remove the fish and set aside.
5.In the same pan, fry half of the sliced onion, the remaining half of the bell pepper and one chilli pepper. Add the tomato concentrate (dilute with a little water), let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, pour 1 liter of water and add salt. Bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes.
6.Then add all the vegetables, the washed dried fish along with the remaining chilli peppers, cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
7.Grind together the remaining black pepper, garlic, onion, bell pepper with the Jumbo cube.
8.Pour this paste into the pan and add the fried fish. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer another 15 minutes.
9.Remove the fish pieces and all the vegetables with a little sauce. Leave the rest of the sauce in the pan.
10.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 (watch and stir every 5 minutes).
11.Spoon the cooked rice in a large serving platter, arrange the fish and vegetables over the rice and garnish with lemon wedges.
According to Dr. Jean Moreira, a Senegalese national, this is how an authentic Thiebou dieune is cooked. A wide variety of vegetables and fish can be used, making Thiebou dieune a versatile and healthy dish. Disclosing the secret behind the Senegalese preference for broken rice in preparing Thiebou dieune , rather than long grain rice, he explains that the broken rice seems to better absorb the sauce and is more pleasing to the taste.
Host : Mariama Dieng, Ibnou Dieng, AfricaRice, Benin
Guest : Kyoko Saito, Kazuki Saito, AfricaRice, Benin
Podcast credit : Savitri Mohapatra, R.Raman, AfricaRice, Benin