|Click on image to view larger size.|
I was so awaiting this Ramadaan this year for several reasons and the first one is very grateful to be alive to see it, secondly I have been battling some health issues that I previously wrote about and being that Fasting has so many health benefits associated with it I knew medically I would be in good standing. Very early 2013, before the month of Rajab, I had completely divorced bad habits to welcome in my new way of eating and food preparation.
One of the healthiest meals recipes I would love to share is a popular Senegalese meal called Thieboudienne (pronounced Cheb-oo- jen) it is easier to say than it looks, but is also known by the abbreviated "Thieb".
Thieboudienne is a dish mostly served at around lunch time and really can be eaten lunch or dinner however when I am back home in America I often desire it for dinner "meal of the day". It is a simple looking but rather complex Senegalese dish of fish, tomato, rice and vegetables.
According to oral tradition, Thieboudienne is the creation of a woman from Saint Louis, Senegal. Penda Mbaye was a cook at the colonial governor's residence creating the dish using fish and vegetables and barley. Unfortunately, there was a barley shortage and she substituted rice.
Eventually Thieboudienne became a favored dish throughout Senegal and was elevated to national dish status. Hooray! If You ever take a trip to my ancestral "Land of Teranga" (hospitality), welcome to Sheba Village, I'll make it for you!
I would not initially advise trying this recipe at home alone, unless there is a true Senegalese native by your side step-by-step, trust me! Okay, now I'm off to the African Market.
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- ½-1 teaspoon crushed dried red chillies, depending on your taste
- 4 small whole fish (gutted) or 4 large fish fillets
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons tomato purée
- 2 bay leaves
- Small piece of dried, smoked fish if available
- 2 chicken or fish stock cubes, or ideally to be authentic Maggi Stock Cubes
- ½ cabbage, very roughly chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 small aubergines (eggplants), or 3 courgettes (zucchini), roughly chopped
- 8oz short grain rice
- 2 limes, cut into wedges, and hot chilli sauce, to serve
WHAT TO DO
- With a mortar and pestle, grind together the garlic, parsley, a pinch of salt, and the dried chillies
- Rinse the fish
- If using fillets make 3-4 holes in the fish
- If using whole fish rinse out the cavity well
- Stuff the fish with the parsley mixture
- Heat the oil in large flame-proof casserole or wok
- Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes
- Mix the tomato purée with 4 oz. warm water and add to the pan, along with the bay leaves, smoked, dried fish (if using) and stock cubes
- Now add the fish and 8 oz. warm water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the fish is cooked - timing will depend on the fish
- Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and keep warm
- Now add a further 8 oz. warm water to the pan, along with the chopped vegetables
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked, adding more water if necessary
- Once the vegetables are cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon and keep warm
- Add the rice to the broth, and simmer until cooked, only adding water if necessary
- When cooked, drain any excess liquid from the rice
- Arrange the rice on large platter in a 1-2 inch flat layer
- Arrange the vegetables in the middle, and the fish on top
- Place lime wedges and spoonfulls of chilli sauce around the edge of the platter
As Salaam Alaykum
Queen Sheba Cisse