Legendary Dishes | Théiboudienne (fish, rice and vegetables in spicy sauce)

SENEGAL

Countless combinations of fish and rice exist across the world and each one of these traditional foods deserve their status as legendary dishes. When aromatics and flavourings change the taste of the fish and the rice, you usually have something special.

This is what happens in Senegal where a well-known herb, a particularly hot spice and clever condiments make the dish known as théiboudienne one of the most iconic of all fish and rice dishes. Parsley grown in hot climates is a different herb and the Senegalese celebrate this fact with copious use in this dish. Scotch bonnet chillies add spicy heat. The indigenous shrimp bouillon is mild by comparison with guedj (fermented fish), netetou or sumbala (locust seeds), and yété (sun-dried marine mollusks), which give théiboudienne its unique taste. Garlic constrasts nicely with the chillies.

Yété and netetou or sumbala are impossible to replicate but Asian or Italian fish sauce can replace guedj. Scotch bonnet chillies have no rival.

Théiboudienne is associated with jollof rice culture and is traditionally made with broken rice. Yummy Medley (Lois and Femi) explain its origins.

We have decided to show the two distinct versions, whole fish with an aromatic stuffing and white fish fillets with an aromatic marinade.

For the real thing travel to Senegal.

White Fish Marinade (wet)

  • 90 ml water
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp shrimp bouillon / 1 tbsp dried shrimp, ground
  • 1 Scotch bonnet chilli pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp netetou / sumbala (locust seeds)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp guedj / fish sauce
  • 1 tsp yété
  • 12 sprigs parsley, chopped

Place all the ingredients into a large blender, blend into a coarse mixture.

Marinate white fish fillets in this mixture for at least 6 hours.

Cut into pieces, fry gently in oil near the end of the cooking of the rice.

Whole Fish Stuffing (semi-wet)

  • 45 g fresh shrimp
  • 30 ml water
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp shrimp bouillon / 1 tbsp dried shrimp
  • 1 Scotch bonnet chilli pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp netetou / sumbala (locust seeds)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp guedj / fish sauce
  • 1 tsp yété
  • 12 sprigs parsley

Place chilli, garlic, parsley and locust seeds in a small blender with one tablespoon of water, blend into a smooth paste.

Blend fresh shrimp with one tablespoon of water, add to the chilli mixture.

Combine black pepper, guedj or fish sauce, shrimp bouillon or dried shrimp and yété, add to the chilli mixture.

Stuff two small whole fish with this mixture. Leave for 6 hours.

Wrap in foil, bake in the oven at 200ºC while the rice and vegetables are being cooked in the sauce.

Sauce

  • 500 g tomato sauce
  • 500 ml water
  • 400 g onions, sliced
  • 1-3 tbsp shrimp bouillon
  • 45 ml vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Rice and Vegetables

  • 500 g broken jasmine rice / Asian / African long grain rice, soaked in 1 litre water for 3 hours before cooking
  • 150 g aubergine, diced small
  • 150 g carrots, diced small
  • 150 g cassava / pumpkin / sweet potato, diced small
  • 150 g red pepper, diced small
  • 100 g cabbage, cut into thin strips, blanched
  • 50 g okra, sliced
  • 3 scotch bonnet chillies, cut into small pieces

Fish

  • 2 whole fish
  • 4 white fish fillets

Fry the onion in the oil over a high heat for 10 minutes, when the edges of the onions should begin to brown. Cover, reduce heat to low, cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic and chillies, increase heat, fry for 5 minutes.

Add black pepper and shrimp bouillon.

Increase heat to medium-low, add carrots, sauté for a few minutes, then add the cassava or pumpkin or potato, sauté for a few minutes. Stir remaining choice of vegetables into the mixture. Cover, cook for 5 minutes.

Add rice, coat in the mixture.

Combine tomato sauce and water, heat.

Add tomato liquid to the rice mixture, stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until the rice is al dente, leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Serve the rice with the baked fish and the fried fish, and some of the baked fish stuffing.