Thieboudienne is a Senegalese dish consisting of white fish, rice, tomato, and pepper cooked together in one pot. It is the national dish of Senegal and is also enjoyed in Guinea, Mali and Mauritania.
Due to the complicated history of this dish, involving the mixture of Senegalese and French culture, there are many dishes similar to Thieboudienne. Some variations are prepared with beef or chicken and more ingredients such as carrots, cabbage, and cassava might be added. Senegal is also home to many ethnic groups and the recipe for Theiboudienne can change depending on which group the creator belongs to.
This meal is often enjoyed in the evening and is great to make for large families or gatherings, as the possible yield is only restrained by the size of the cook’s pot.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Thieboudienne, or Ceebu Jen in the Wolof language of Senegal, was created during the 19th century in the port town of Saint Louis. This dish is sometimes thought of as Senegal’s version of Jollof rice, a dish popular in West Africa, with a distinct difference being the use of fish instead of meat.
While Jollof rice is believed to have started during the Wolof empire, thieboudienne is a much more recent invention that took place during French colonization.
In traditional recipes of thieboudienne, the rice used was brought over to Senegal from Vietnam by the French. While the French colonists would eat the higher quality and therefore more expensive grains, they would throw out any leftover broken rice grains. Where the French saw low quality, the Senegalese saw an opportunity. It is with this rice, what we now know as “broken jasmine”, that thieboudienne was created.
Senegalese Thieboudienne Recipe
Thieboudienne is a Senegalese dish consisting of white fish, rice, tomato, and pepper cooked together in one pot.
For the fish and marinade:
- White fish (blue snapper or grouper) - 2 lbs
- Garlic - 4 cloves
- Caribbean red pepper or Habanero pepper - 1
- Parsley, chopped - 1 cup
- Shrimp bouillon - 1 tsp
- Black pepper - 1 tsp
- Salt - to taste
- Cooking oil - 1 tbsp
For the rice mixture:
- Broken jasmine rice, pre-soaked - 2 cups
- Bell peppers - 3
- Caribbean red pepper/habanero - 3
- Yam - 1
- Cabbage - ½ head
- Eggplant - 1
- Carrots - 1
For the sauce:
- Vegetable oil - 3/4 cup
- Diced tomato - 2 cups
- Tomato paste - 2 tbsp
- Onion, sliced - 1
- Garlic, minced - 4 cloves
- Caribbean red pepper/ habanero- 2
- Shrimp bouillon - 3 tbsp
- Salt and pepper - to taste
- Bay leaf - 1
- Prepare your marinade and fish. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the parsley, the shrimp bouillon, salt and pepper, a tablespoon of oil, and 2 cloves of garlic to create a paste.
- Take the white fish fillets and coat them in the marinade, setting them aside in the refrigerator to marinate for 2-3 hours. Keep any leftover marinade.
- Now you will prepare the tomato sauce. In a large pot, heat the oil on medium-high. Add the diced tomato, tomato paste, onion, garlic, peppers, bouillon, and salt and pepper. Stir together well and cook on medium-high for 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent. Then bring the temperature to medium-low for another 12 minutes.
- While the sauce is being made, begin to prepare your rice. Cook according to instructions with rice, putting on low heat and covering so it will cook while you prepare the fish and vegetables.
- Once the sauce is ready, remove the fish from the refrigerator and add it to the sauce.
- Add bay leaf and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes, until the fish is cooked well.
- Remove the fish from the sauce and set aside. Prepare your vegetables.
- Add all of your vegetables (bell pepper, red pepper, yam, cabbage, eggplants, carrot) and 1 cup of water.
- Cook the vegetables for about 25 minutes until tender.
- Once the vegetables are cooked, add the fish pieces back into the mixture. Mix well.
- Serve by scooping rice onto a dish and topping it with the fish and vegetables mixture.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 567Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 345mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 7gSugar: 11gProtein: 33g
Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.