Thieboudienne

– Course                   :    Méchoui  
– Cuisine                   :    Mauritanian
– Prep Time              :    15 minutes
– Cook Time             :    45 minutes
– Total Time             :     60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 kg  firm white fish fillets, cleaned, deboned and cut into pieces (white grouper is the favoured fish in Mauritania for this dish)
  • Fish Seasoning (1 tbs flour, ¼tsp ground black pepper, ½ tsp salt, 4 sprigs parsley chopped fine, 1 pinch cayenne Pepper powder – combine & grind with mortar & pestle until a fine seasoning flour is created)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed (to be cooked with onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled (to soak with vegetables)
  • 1 whole eggplant
  • 2 carrot, peeled
  • 1 sweet Potato (yam) , peeled
  • 2 large potato, peeled
  • 3 tbs tomato paste
  • 4 large tomatoes, crushed
  • 3 Vegetable Bouillon stock cubes
  • Salt & pepper
  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 hot pepper, whole
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 4 tbs Vegetable Oil (or more as needed – peanut oil would be traditional)
  • 1 tbs peanuts
  • fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Instructions

1. Cut eggplant, carrot, yam/sweet potato & potato into 2 cm chunks then soak in a large pot in10 cups water (2 ½ litres) with 4 cloves peeled garlic.

2. Put the seasoned flour in a bag then add the fish & shake until the fish is well coated with the seasoning
3. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a large cooking pot & add the peanuts
4. heat the oil and fry the fish, turning fish so it browns on all sides.
5. If the pot gets too dry during frying add more oil
6. When the fish is brown on all sides take it out of the pot & set aside
7. mIx the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, the crumbled stock cubes, a large pinch salt & small pinch black pepper together.

8. Add the butter to the pot, add onion & crushed garlic & sauté until soft
9. add the tomato mixture to the onions and oil in the pot & cook briefly
10. then add the vegetables (including whole garlic), the water they were soaking in, to the pot & stir well
11. add the whole hot pepper tied to a piece of string that is also tied on the other end to the handle of the pot for easy extraction later
12. now bring the pot to the boil, turn heat to low, cover the pot & allow vegetables to gently cook as a slow boil until soft (about 30-40 minutes)
13. For the last five minutes put fried fish back into the pot
14. gently scoop out the fish & vegetables from the liquid & keep aside in another container to keep warm for next 25 minutes
15. now you are ready to cook the rice but first it is important to make sure you have the right amount of liquid
16. pour the liquid out of the pot into a jug & measure it. You will need 8 cups (2 ltr) liquid to cook the rice. If there is more than 8 cups put the liquid back in the pot & boil down a little to make 8 cups. If there is not 8 cups of liquid then add enough water to bring the liquid to the right amount then put back in the pot

17. Add rice, 1 tsp salt & a little oil to the pot
18. Bring to a boil stirring with a wooden spoon and then turn down heat to very low and cover, cooking for 10 minutes
19. Without lifting off the lid, turn the heat off & leave the pot on the cooling element for a further 10 minutes so the rice finishes cooking in the steaming liquid. Do not remove the lid until you are ready to serve
20. To serve the meal, turn the rice out onto a large bowl/platter including any burnt or crisp rice which is considered a delicacy
21. ow arrange the fish and vegetables (that you have kept warm) evenly across the centre of the rice so there is something nice for everyone eating
22. The platter is then served onto the table as a shared meal
23. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves
24. in Mauritania it would be customary for everyone to sit around the bowl and take their share of the meal from the part of the platter immediately in front of them, though, the host or hostess will often place the platter on the table in such a way that especially nice pieces of fish or vegetables are in front of their guests

Enjoy!!