Thieboudienne: Traditional West African Fish and Rice Dish


Thieboudienne is the national dish of the West African country of Senegal. Made from scratch with fish, rice, tomato sauce and assorted veggies, it is a tasty and healthy meal that keeps a nation going. When I lived in Senegal, West Africa while I was volunteering in my early twenties, I was introduced to a local dish called Thieboudienne (pronounced “Djieboudjen”). 

Thieboudienne is considered Senegal’s “national dish,” and the people there (especially in the more rural, coastal areas like where I lived), eat a pretty steady diet of it.

It traditionally consists of fish (Grouper or Snapper usually), rice, tomato sauce and regional West African veggies such as carrots, sweet potatoes, cassava (yuca), eggplant, cabbage, okra, onion, garlic and hot peppers. 

It’s then seasoned with various other regional herbs and spices such as parsley, tamarind and a couple others that require a bit of an acquired taste. Specifically dried fish for flavouring and nététou or “sumbala”: a type of local seed that is fermented and gives off an odour and flavour that I liken to stinky feet… Not that I know what stinky feet taste like! Well, actually now I think I might.

But stinky feet aside, Thieboudienne is a hearty, healthy dish that keeps the Senegalese people going through good times and bad. And while the fermented seeds that taste like the inside of a gym bag are actually packed with nutrients, they’re not actually necessary to make this dish at home (thankfully).

Now, I don’t mean to offend anyone with the comment about nététou. Plenty of other people really enjoy it and I heard no complaints out of any of the other westerners I was with, so it could just be me. But I much prefer this dish without it, which works out because I can’t find nététou in local stores where I live anyway. Depending on where you live, you might be able to find it in specialty shops that sell African foods. But it ain’t here, so I omit it when it comes to my interpretation of the recipe.

Thieboudienne is the national dish of the West African country of Senegal. Made from scratch with fish, rice, tomato sauce and assorted veggies, it is a tasty and healthy meal that keeps a nation going. I also use jasmine rice instead of the traditional “broken rice” that is used in Senegal. 

What’s broken rice, you ask? It’s exactly what it sounds like: grains of rice that have been broken during the harvesting process and are then separated out from the long grains of rice, packaged and sold at a cheaper price to working class people in areas like West Africa and Southeast Asia. Broken rice is typically used because it is cheaper, but any non-sticky rice like jasmine or basmati will work well in this dish. 

For the fish, any white fish with firm flesh will work well, like grouper, snapper, hake, pike or tilapia. Whole fish with skin-on is the traditional way, but I use fillets and they work just fine. 

Thieboudienne is the national dish of the West African country of Senegal. Made from scratch with fish, rice, tomato sauce and assorted veggies, it is a tasty and healthy meal that keeps a nation going. The fish is stuffed with an herb mixture of parsley, garlic, salt and crushed hot pepper (I use chilli pepper flakes). Then it is fried and stewed with the vegetables in a broth seasoned with onions, garlic, tomato paste and tamarind paste (I use tamarind sauce because I couldn’t find paste where I live… Again, this is optional. If you can’t find tamarind at all just omit it).

The veggies are then removed and the rice is added and cooked in the broth. Once the rice is cooked, the fish and veggies are spooned overtop and the dish is typically served on a large, communal platter that everybody eats off of together.

It has been almost 10 years since I last ate this dish in Senegal, but when as I was writing about my time in Africa the other day, I suddenly had a hankering for some Thieboudienne. So I gathered the ingredients and made my own “westernized” version of the dish.

 

My interpretation of Thieboudienne

Thieboudienne is the national dish of the West African country of Senegal. Made from scratch with fish, rice, tomato sauce and assorted veggies, it is a tasty and healthy meal that keeps a nation going. As I said before, I used jasmine rice instead of broken rice, omitted some of the harder-to-get spices and veggies and used whatever I had on hand instead. For the veggies I used carrots, sweet potatoes, regular russet potatoes and cabbage. If you can’t get okra, you can use bell peppers although I omitted the peppers altogether because I didn’t have any on hand when I made this. And I used dried red chilli flakes instead of whole hot peppers and dried parsley instead of fresh for the same reason. 

I also used cod in this recipe because I love cod and I got a really good deal on it, but while it tasted really good, the flesh was too flaky to stew it the proper way without it falling apart. So I just added the fish to the dish once the rest was cooked and it still came out really nice.

I’m all about making do with what you have on hand, and this dish traditionally makes use of what the Senegalese people have on hand themselves. So don’t hesitate to add or omit certain ingredients depending on what you have easy access to. In general, any white fish will do along with some rice (or even couscous or quinoa), tomato paste, parsley, garlic, onion, cabbage and assorted root vegetables, plus some diced peppers if you’ve got ‘em.

Thieboudienne is the national dish of the West African country of Senegal. Made from scratch with fish, rice, tomato sauce and assorted veggies, it is a tasty and healthy meal that keeps a nation going. Start by blending or mashing up a mixture of parsley (fresh or dried), fresh garlic (or powdered if you don’t have fresh), salt and a few chilli flakes depending on how spicy you like it. If you use dry ingredients like dried parsley or garlic powder, add a little oil or water to the mixture for moisture. I use a mortar and pestle to mix my paste up but you can use a food processor if you like.

Then, either stuff the centre of your whole fish or cut a hole into the end of one of the fish fillets and then stuff each piece of fish with some of the parsley mixture. 

Thieboudienne is the national dish of the West African country of Senegal. Made from scratch with fish, rice, tomato sauce and assorted veggies, it is a tasty and healthy meal that keeps a nation going. Fry the fish to cook it (I use peanut oil in a cast iron skillet as peanut oil is traditionally used in West African cuisine do to its availability in the region). But any cooking oil will do fine.

Transfer the cooked fish to a plate and cover. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft. Then, add the tomato paste, dried chilli flakes and tamarind paste (if using) and stir over medium heat until well mixed.

Thieboudienne is the national dish of the West African country of Senegal. Made from scratch with fish, rice, tomato sauce and assorted veggies, it is a tasty and healthy meal that keeps a nation going. Transfer tomato paste mixture to a large pot and add 2 litres of water. Add veggies and fish and simmer on medium-high heat with the lid on for roughly 35-40 minutes (or until veggies are tender).

Thieboudienne is the national dish of the West African country of Senegal. Made from scratch with fish, rice, tomato sauce and assorted veggies, it is a tasty and healthy meal that keeps a nation going. Remove the veggies and fish with a slotted spoon and reserve them in a bowl or container. Measure out 4 cups of broth and pour remaining broth over veggies if desired (or discard). Transfer the 4 cups of broth back to the pot and add 2 cups of rice. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover for 20 minutes.

Once rice is cooked, transfer to a large serving platter (or individual plates or bowls work fine;), top with fish and veggies, serve and enjoy!

Thieboudienne is the national dish of the West African country of Senegal. Made from scratch with fish, rice, tomato sauce and assorted veggies, it is a tasty and healthy meal that keeps a nation going. I was actually amazed at how easy it was to make this dish at home with familiar ingredients and how much it resembled the traditional dish in both look and taste. Feel free to play around with the ingredients to suit your own individual tastes. 

What about you? Have you ever tried West African cuisine before? What exotic recipes have you adapted to cook at home? I’m always looking for inspiration when it comes to food and there s so much inspiration to be found in other cultures. I’m always eager to learn more so don’t hesitate to share!

As-Salaam Alaikum:)

 

 

 

SaveSave


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

6 Comments

  1. tristin and malynda :)

    thanks hon, we have to bring a traditional sengal meal in for class and we’re really excited to make your recipe!!!

    Reply
    • tristin and malynda :0

      also, how many servings does this make? thanks!

      Reply
      • Anna Sakawsky

        Hi there,

        I’m trying to remember how many servings this makes! I believe we each got dinner and leftovers so I would say this particular recipe serves 4. Hope that helps!

        Reply
  2. Sam

    Did you really think that your repeated mentions (and denigration) of nététou actually made your writing better? Wow. Talk about ignorance.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Sam! Nope, I definitely didn’t mention nététou to make my writing better. Just to give my honest opinion of it. Like I said, many people really enjoy it. I personally prefer this dish without it, but that’s just what works for my palate. Feel free to add it or not:)

      Reply
    • tristin and malynda >:/

      leave anna alone! she’s trying her best to make you good food m8.

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mafé: Traditional West African Peanut Sauce & Rice Recipe – Melissa K. Norris - […] communal meals with the locals or “dining out” at one of the few little for huts in the area.…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
You Might Also Like
Homemade Yogurt (Plain & Greek Style)

Homemade Yogurt (Plain & Greek Style)

* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   I’ve known that homemade yogurt was “a thing” for a long time. I always considered making it myself, but it was never really at the top of my list of skills to...

read more

How to Grow More Food In Less Space

How to Grow More Food In Less Space

* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   One of the biggest problems that every homesteader runs  into sooner or later is the issue of wanting to grow more food than their garden space allows for....

read more

🥔 Potatoes, po-tah-toes...

However you say it, potatoes are one of the best crops to grow in your garden if you’re going for maximum food production.

Back during wartime when people were encouraged to grow their own food at home and the concept of Victory Gardens was born, potatoes were a staple crop in most vegetable gardens, and for good reason...

Potatoes have been a staple “survival crop” for millennia. They’re calorie-dense, carbohydrate-rich and high in essential nutrients like fibre, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C. They’re also easy to grow and can be grown in the ground, in raised beds, containers, grow bags… even garbage cans.

Potatoes will give you more calories per square foot than just about any other crop. They also store well in cold storage and are extremely versatile and can be turned into everything from hash browns and French fries to mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, gnocchi, potato pies, pancakes and perogies!

They’re truly a must-have in any victory garden. But they’re just ONE of the best crops to grow in a Victory Garden (aka. a garden with the main goal being food production).

I’ll teach you about all the others and much more in my video presentation on the 10 Best Crops for Your Victory Garden, airing today as part of the FREE Backyard Vegetable Gardener’s Summit!

My video goes live today at 2:30pm PST. It will be available to watch for free for 24 hours after it airs (or you can grab the all-access pass to watch any time).

I’ll also be live in the chat box to answer any questions you might have when the video goes live this afternoon!

If you haven’t got your FREE TICKET yet, head over and click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/backyardvegsummit to register and watch for free!
.
.
.
#gardenersofinstagram #organicgardening #homegrown #victorygarden #vegetablegarden #vegetablegardening
...

I'm trying to take a more proactive approach to food preservation this year. In the spring, when everything is small and new, it's easy to think you've got loads of time to worry about preserving. But summer comes quickly, and before you know it you've got baskets full of food all over your kitchen that needs to be preserved all at once.

This year I'm trying to preserve food as it comes on, which means I've already started preserving herbs from our spring garden!

Spring is actually an ideal time to preserve herbs and leafy greens because they're fresh and new and in their prime. While I love drying herbs for use later on, there are some herbs that just don’t dry well (chives are one such herb, and they’re abundant right now). Plus I like to preserve herbs in a variety of different ways to enjoy all year long.

One of my favourite ways to preserve fresh herbs is by making herb butter (aka. compound butter).

I chop up fresh herbs like chives, parsley, mint, rosemary and even garlic and then mix them together with softened butter. Then I usually reserve some to use right away and I freeze the rest to use later. And ya know what? We’re still eating herb butter from our freezer that I made last year!

If you’ve got herbs growing in your garden now and/or you want to make sure you’re on top of your preserving game right from the get go, this is definitely a “recipe” you want to have in your arsenal.

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-herb-butter/ to get my recipes and full instructions!
.
.
.
#herbs #homemade #fromscratch #homesteadkitchen #homemadeisbetter
...

Did you know that dandelions were actually INTENTIONALLY brought to North America by European immigrants centuries ago due to their many benefits?

Despite what many people think, dandelions are actually really good for lawns and gardens. Their long taproots help aerate the soil and their colourful flowers are some of the first blooms to attract pollinators to our gardens in the spring.

Second, dandelions are a nutritious and completely edible plant. In fact, every part of the dandelion plant is edible from the roots to the leaves to the flowers. You can make dandelion root tea, dandelion leaf salad and even fried dandelion flowers!

But perhaps most impressive is the fact that dandelions offer a huge range of health benefits from strengthening bones and fighting diabetes to detoxifying your liver and nourishing your skin in all sorts of ways.

Dandelions are also anti-inflammatory as well as high in antioxidants, and when applied topically they can help nourish and clear skin, fight skin infections and help relieve muscle and joint pain, including pain caused by arthritis.

One of my favourite ways to use dandelions is by making an infused oil and then turning that oil into a healing salve. It's super easy to make and it's a great way to put those dandelions in your yard to good use this year!

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/diy-dandelion-salve/ to learn how to make your own dandelion healing salve. Then grab a basket and start gathering up dandelion flowers as soon as they make their appearance this spring! Just make sure to leave some for the bees:) 🐝
.
.
.
#diy #savethebees #dandelion #dandelions #natural #naturalhealing #springflowers #homeapothecary #herbalism
...

If you’ve been following my stories this week, you probably saw the bumblebee I tried to save. We found her in the middle of our driveway and moved her so she wouldn’t get squished.

She clung onto my hand and wouldn’t let go at first. It was almost as though she was just thankful to have someone caring for her in what would be her final days and hours.

We knew she probably wouldn’t survive. She wasn’t even attempting to fly. She seemed weak, and I couldn’t just toss her to the ground to die. So we got her a little plate of water and gave her a few flower blossoms and set her down.

At first she didn’t move at all. Then, the next day she seemed a little more lively and was crawling around on the flowers. Much like when humans are about to pass, they often get a short, “second wind.” But then yesterday I came out to find she was gone, and although she was just a bee, I felt connected to her in those moments we shared.

The fact is, we ARE all connected to each other, and we ALL depend on each other for survival. Bees and humans in particular have an important relationship. Did you know that honey bees alone are responsible for pollinating over 80% of the world’s fruits and vegetables?

And yet, there are many things that us humans do to our food (like spray it with pesticides and herbicides), that’s killing off bee populations in massive numbers. Because of our dependence on bees in order to feed our global population, their demise could spell our demise.

Whether or not you’ve ever felt personally connected to a bee like I did this week, I guarantee you’re connected to them through the food that you eat. And that’s why it’s so vitally important that we take steps to help bees out whenever we can.

I happen to have a few easy ideas that anybody can implement at home right now to help save these little pollinators from extinction, and in turn, help save our food supply too!

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/3-easy-ways-to-help-save-the-bees/ to learn 3 EASY ways to help save the bees, and the many reasons why it matters!
...

Hot Cross Buns have always been one of my favourite parts of Easter. Growing up, I remember going with my mom to the bakery to pick up a dozen of these sweet buns, and we’d proceed to devour half the box before we even got home.

Honestly, I STILL love Hot Cross Buns from there bakery.But fresh out-of-the-oven HOMEMADE Hot Cross Buns are next level delicious, and they’ve fast become one of our family’s most anticipated spring treats!

If you love Hot Cross Buns as as much as we do, I highly recommend trying your hand at making your own this year!

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-hot-cross-buns-recipe/ to grab the full recipe and instructions!
.
.
.
#hotcrossbuns #easter #baking #homemade
...

🥄 I’ve known for a long time that homemade yogurt was something that many homesteaders pride themselves on making.

I always considered making it myself, and I have to admit I’ve always been a bit jealous when I’ve seen other people making gorgeous batches of thick, creamy homemade yogurt, often made with milk from their own dairy cow. But since I don’t have my own dairy cow (or even dairy goats), homemade yogurt (and home dairy in general) has just never really been at the top of my list of skills to learn.

Plus, without my own dairy cow, I figured I would need to find a source of raw milk to make yogurt (which is illegal where I live) and I knew that even if I could get it, it probably wouldn’t be cheaper than buying it from the grocery store, so why bother?

But when I started putting the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine together (all about Home Dairy) I knew I needed to at least give homemade yogurt a try.

I quickly learned that you don’t need your own dairy animal or even a raw milk source in order to make your own homemade yogurt. I also learned that it’s possible to make it with the best quality, whole, local, non-homogenized milk, and still have it come out cheaper than it would cost for me to buy a comparable quality and quantity of yogurt at the grocery store.

Plus, it’s stupidly easy to make...

All you need is some whole milk, some yogurt starter culture (aka. plain yogurt from the store with live active cultures), and a way to heat up your milk (ie. a pot and a stove), and keep your incubating yogurt warm for a few hours after (a slow cooker, Instant Pot, dehydrator, warm oven, etc.)

While the original recipe appeared in this month’s issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, you can also grab the full recipe and instructions by clicking the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or by going to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-yogurt/

Also, if you haven’t yet subscribed for FREE to Modern Homesteading Magazine, go to thehouseandhomestead.com/magazine to get the Home Dairy issue delivered straight to your inbox:)
...

🥕 Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where we could trust that all of the food we buy from the grocery store is actually safe for us to eat??

But hundreds and THOUSANDS of dangerous chemicals are still managing to find their way into the foods that many of us eat.

Here are a few stats that should have us all deeply concerned:

- A recent study by the Environmental Working Group found that about 70% of fresh produce sold in the US contained pesticide residues, even after washing.

- The USDA recently found a staggering 225 pesticide residues on 47 different conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables.

- The EWG reported finding at least 2,000 synthetic chemicals in packaged foods.

- Most produce travels around 1,500 miles before it hits your plate, and begins losing nutrients the minute after being picked.

- GMOs are present in roughly 60 to 70 percent of foods on supermarket shelves.

- About half of all synthetic chemicals used on conventionally-grown foods have been shown to be carcinogenic, AND roughly the same amount of "natural" chemicals used on organic foods have been found to be carcinogenic as well.

I could go on, but I think you get my point.

If you want to take control of both your food supply AND ensure that your food is free from GMOs and harmful chemicals, learning how to grow your own food at home really is the best way to go.

That's why I'm so excited to announce that my Seed to Soil Organic Gardening Course is now open for spring 2021 enrollment!

Over the course of 12, step-by-step lessons, I’ll teach you everything you need to know to take a handful of seeds and turn them into baskets full of food. Plus you’ll get access to some pretty sweet bonuses too!

So if you're ready to ditch bland, nutrient-deficient, chemical-laden grocery store food in exchange for nutritious, delicious, picked-at-the-peak-of-ripeness homegrown food, now's your chance to get started right away!

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://www.schoolofmodernhomesteading.com/p/seed2soil to enroll or learn more!
...

It's almost hard to believe that we've been living with the pandemic for an entire year now. But what a year it's been.

Last March, when COVID-19 was first declared a global pandemic, people everywhere panicked and cleared out grocery store shelves quicker than you can say "toilet paper."

Now that we've had a year to adapt, grocery store shelves have been re-stocked and food shortages are no longer a top concern for many people. But there are lingering effects from the pandemic, which is not even over yet.

According to the USDA, food prices in the US are expected to rise a further 1% to 2% in 2021. And in Canada they're expected to rise between 3% and 5%. That means it will cost an average of $695 MORE this year to feed a family of four.

Preparedness and self-sufficiency are becoming increasingly important in a world where natural disasters, civil unrest, surging food costs and the risk of new and worsening pandemics and health threats become more common.

This is where homesteading comes in; Not only is learning how to grow your own food at home a great form of insurance against, well, pretty much everything, it’s also empowering to know that in a world where so much is out of your control, one thing you do have control of is your family's food supply.

But if you're new to gardening or have struggled to get a good harvest before, learning how to grow your own food at home can feel overwhelming, and it can be disheartening to think about sinking a bunch of time and effort into your garden only to get a few scraggly, bug-eaten vegetables in the end.

But gardening and growing food at home really isn't all that complicated when you have a trusted roadmap to follow. This is exactly why I created the Seed to Soil Organic Gardening Course; I wanted to create a step-by-step process that anyone could easily follow and get results in their garden.

Enrollment is now open for the 2021 gardening season, so if you’re ready to learn how to take a handful of seeds and turn it into baskets full of homegrown food, I would love to show you how!

Click the link in my bio or go to https://schoolofmodernhomesteading.com/p/seed2soil to learn more.
...

Every year we seem to start more and more plants from seed, but we can only expand our gardening space so much to accommodate them all.

One day we have grand dreams of having more acreage, but for the foreseeable future, this 1/4 acre property of ours is where we make our stand.

Our actual growing space only totals about 450 square feet, but we still manage to grow hundreds of pounds of food every year, and we even produce enough of certain crops to get us all the way through to the next harvest without ever having to purchase them from a grocery store.

But growing more food in less space does take a little bit of creativity and smart garden planning, so before you go planting out your garden all willy nilly, I've got a few tips to help you maximize food production on your property and, ultimately, get a bigger harvest in the end.

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to learn how to grow MORE food in LESS space and make the most of the garden you have this year!
.
.
.
#growmorefood #growmorewithless #homegrownfood #growfoodnotlawns #growyourown #gardenersofinstagram #humanswhogrowfood #homesteading
...

I freaking LOVE this time of year!

The garlic has popped up, the crocuses and snowdrops are in bloom, the sun has returned and it’s warm enough to hang out in the garden with just a t-shirt during the day ☀️

We’re still getting some hard frosts at night, but spring is finally well and truly on its way and we’re working on prepping our garden for the 2021 season and starting ALL the seeds (even though we really should probably try practicing more restraint).

This time of year brings so much promise and excitement! No matter what happened last year or even last season, spring is a new chance to get it all right.

Everything begins again; The garden, especially, is like a blank slate that we can choose to fill in any way we like.

This is the time when we decide what we want to be enjoying and harvesting out of our gardens MONTHS from now, and even what we want to be pulling from our pantry shelves next winter.

That’s what makes this time of year so special, and so crucial to homesteaders and home gardeners everywhere.

When it comes to the garden, the choices we make and the things we do right now will have a huge impact on how the rest of the season will go. That’s why I’m hosting a free LIVE WEBINAR this weekend, all about the 3 things to do NOW to ensure a healthy, bountiful harvest this year.

Join me at 10 am PST this Saturday and I’ll teach you exactly what to do right now to start things off on the right foot and set yourself up for success in the garden this year so that, ultimately, you end up with more HOMEGROWN FOOD on your dinner table and lining your pantry shelves!

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to sign up for the webinar and save your seat! And don’t worry too much if you can’t make it live as I’ll be sending out a replay afterward:)

Spring has sprung folks. Let’s do this! 💪
.
.
.
#growyourownfood #growfoodnotlawns #humanswhogrowfood #gardenersofinstagram #growingfood #organicgardening #springgarden
...

© The House & Homestead | All Rights Reserved | Legal

Crafted with ♥ by Inscape Designs