This recipe for Thiéboudiène was sent to me by my French friend Alice. Her husband is originally from Mauritania and they often cook some traditional dishes at home. The link she sent me comes from a blog by La Tendresse en Cuisine. However, Alice recommended not to use the sardines in the original recipe. I also used several fillets of sea bass rather than whole sea bass, as that is what I found at the market. Another uncertainty for me was what the recipe meant by tomato sauce. I decided to use passata since it seemed smooth tomatoes would be better than chunky for this recipe.
There are a number of steps in the recipe, so it does take awhile for preparation and cooking. In the end, you have a delicious, colourful and healthy dish with vegetables and fish. It can feed around four hungry people, and we still had leftovers of the vegetables and stew.
2 whole sea bream or sea bass or 4 filets
250 g broken rice
1/2 white cabbage
1-2 sweet potato
1 red chili
4 vegetable bouillons cubes
10 sprigs of parsley
1 large garlic clove
6 grains de poivre or 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp oil for cooking
1 large tube (200g) of tomato paste
100 ml tomato sauce or passata
Salt to taste
First, prepare the stuffing of the fish using either a mortar and pestle or a small mixer. Chop the parsley sprigs, half an onion, a piece of red chili, a garlic clove and two bouillon cubes. Add a few peppercords and mix well.
Next, if you are using whole fish, open the fish from the head to the tail via the belly. Then stuff the parsly paste throughout the fish. If you are using filets then spread the paste evenly on top of all 4 filets.
In a frying pan, add the oil and heat over medium high. Then cook the fish well on both sides. Then set the fish aside on a plate and reserve the cooking oil.
Next chop and prepare all of the vegetables. Wash and cut the aubergine into large cubes. Then peel and cut the carrots in half, or in fourths if the carrots are very thick. Cut the cabbage in half and remove the core. Use half of the cabbage for this recipe. Peel the sweet potato, then cut into rounds about one-centimeter thick. Add all vegetables and the chili to a large pot.
Chop the remaining half of an onion. In the frying pan with the oil from frying the fish, fry the onions over medium heat until soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add the tomato paste and tomato sauce and cook for a few more minutes.
Then transfer the onions and tomatoes to the pot of vegetables. Add enough water to over the vegetables. Then bring the pot to a boil and reduce to simmering. Chop the cauliflower in large pieces and add them to the pot. Then cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add the fish to the top of the vegetable mixture, cover and cook for a further 15 minutes.
In the meantime, wash the rice and then microwave it for 5 minutes. Then add the rice to a separate pot. Remove the fish to a serving dish, then spoon some of the sauce into the rice pot. Add the liquid until it is about one centimetre above the level of the rice. Cover the pot and cook the rice for about 25 minutes or until tender, adding more liquid if it seems dry.
Once the rice is done, serve the rice topped with the vegetables and fish.
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