Last night I decided I wanted to try my hand at some west African cooking. I happen to love a dish from Senegal called ceebu jen. My ceebu jen turned out delicious but not quite the way it was supposed to turn out. Practice will make perfect with this dish. Although the total cost of the dish was more than is allowable for recipes on the Fairy Chef, I realized that the preparation for the fish not only was delicious but also very affordable and will add a zing to your fish repertoire.
So break out your food processor/blender and let's make some fish.
Raise the Roof Tilapia
2 pieces fresh tilapia 1 can tomato paste 2 medium sized red onions 1 bunch parsley 4 garlic cloves 1 serrano chili pepper 1 sweet red bell pepper 1 habanero pepper 4-6 red potatoes 2 cups medium grain rice 6 cups cabbage chopped 3 tbs olive or peanut oil garlic/pepper sauce salt
Please note you can use any type of hardy fish for this dish...halibut, catfish, tilapia, shark, swordfish, tuna, whatevs.
So, first you need to prepare the roof. Please note, I did not "invent" this. I created a variation of this Senegalese seasoning mixture based on what was available at my local super market.
Mince one of your red onions, the parsley, garlic, bell pepper, and serrano chili. Put in food process and puree. Set this aside.
Cut three grooves the length of each piece of tilapia without slicing all the way through the fish. Then, with a tablespoon, using the edge, pry apart the grooves...fill each groove with the roof. Set this aside.
Mince your second red onion.
In a large pot...heat peanut oil if you have it, otherwise use olive oil. Add the second red onion and sizzle for about 3 minutes. Add to this the fish. Cook for roughly 2 minutes on each side. Then remove from heat and set aside.
To the pot with the oil and onions, add the tomato paste and two tomato paste cans full of water. Bring to a boil. Add the potatoes to the mixture. Take a fork and poke holes in the habanero pepper. Remove the stem from the pepper, and add the pepper to the potatoes. Cover about half way with water. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, measure out your rice into a large bowl and soak in water for about 2 minutes. Drain the water. Reach into the bowl and mash the rice with your hands. You want to break up most of the grains. Then, just before the potatoes are finished, take another pot, and cook your rice. For 2 cups of rice, you should use four cups of water. Follow the directions on the rice bag for making the rice.
After thirty minutes, add the cabbage to the top of the pot and lay the fish on top of the cabbage. Add a cup more water and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the cabbage and fish are cooked.
Remove the habanero pepper from the pot. Serve the fish, potatoes, cabbage, and tomato base over the rice! If you have some of the garlic pepper sauce handy that I mentioned in previous recipes, serve on the side to spice up the dish. Salt to taste. Enjoy...traditional ceebu jen is served nuclear spicy..this recipe kept the heat low enough that David didn't make the crazy sucking sounds with his lips that drives me completely nutty.
Depending on the price of fish where you happen to be, this dish should run you roughly $9-$12 and will feed 6 people easily.
Named February 2011's Bad-Ass Feminist of the Month by NotYourAverageFeminist.com, BLC is also a poet, playwright, journalist,amateur chef and life commentator doing his bit to put his foot in the asses of the regressive masses, while putting filling and nutritious food on plates of folks that ain't got much and deserve better. And, thank you to MyLatinVoice.Com which named me the #2 Queer Latin@ Blogger on the web for my blog My Feet Only Walk Forward: www.myfeetonlywalkforward.blogspot.com