Main Meals

Senegalese fish and rice stew

8 – 12
20 minutes
1½ hours

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  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small fresh hot chilli
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 8 thick firm fish steaks
  • 4 T peanut oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 7,5 cm piece of dried smoked fish (we used dried snoek)
  • 140 g tomato paste
  • 9 cups slightly salted cold water
  • 500 g butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 500 g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 5 small turnips, quartered
  • 8 wedges green cabbage
  • 2 small brinjals, thickly sliced
  • 5 carrots, scraped and cut into chunks
  • 1 habanero chilli, spiked on a skewer
  • 500 g rice

Pound the parsley, garlic, chilli and spring onions together to form a paste.

Score the steaks and poke the stuffing into the slits.

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan and brown the onion.

Add the smoked fish, the tomato paste and 1/4 cup of the salted water. Add the stuffed steaks and cook for 5 minutes. Add the remaining water and bring to a simmer.

Reduce the heat and poach the fish for about 5 minutes or until just cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon, wrap in foil and keep warm.

Add the vegetables to the saucepan together with the spiked habanero chilli. Remove the chilli, when you think the thiebou dienn is spicy enough, but don’t discard it.

Cook the vegetables for 30 minutes or until tender.

Remove the cooked vegetables with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

Reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquids to make the sauces. Bring the remaining liquid to a boil, add the rice, cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is done.

Meanwhile blend the reserved habanero chilli and mix with 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Heat and keep warm. It will be as hot as the African sun, so take care.

Blend the remaining cooking liquid, heat and keep warm.

To serve, turn the rice into a deep dish or platter and top with the fish and vegetables, accompanied by the two sauces.

Phillippa Cheifitz

Recipe by: Phillippa Cheifitz

Regular TASTE contributor Phillippa is a well-known South African author and food writer, and has won many awards, both for her magazine features and her cookbooks.

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