Bon appetit! Two dishes from Senegal

Traditional Senegalese dish thieboudienne. Photo: Dormeroom1 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Traditional Senegalese dish thieboudienne. Photo: Dormeroom1 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

A former French colony, Senegal has been strongly influenced by French and North African cultures. Most people in big cities such as Dakar start the morning with a fresh French baguette, picked up every day from a bakery, which you can find on every corner.

In the village the day starts pretty early for women. Most will wake up just after the crow of roosters every morning. They start the day by preparing the morning breakfast, usually porridge. A lot of work goes into it; they will be usually up by 6am, some even 5am if their husbands head off early for work. Then everyone in the family gathers around a big bowl to share the porridge.

Lunch is usually fish and rice. The most popular dish in the north of the country is Thiebou diene In Senegalese, thiebou means rice, while diene means fish. In the south the most loved dish is kaldou. Of course there are a whole lot of other dishes which are also a delight. Again, almost everyone shares every meal around a big bowl and a chat. Dinner mostly consists of fish, meat, chicken with salad and vegetables.

Senegalese people eat quite healthily, and food is a celebration.

(Cooking for 6 people)

Thiebou Diene

Thiebou diene. Photo: Remi Jouan CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

First you need to get fresh fish. Here in Australia I usually use snapper (although in Senegal I use a fish called Thiof). I usually cut it into three pieces.

Get cabbage, carrots, capsicum, cauliflower, parsley, oil, fish stock, onions, tomatoes, garlic, chillies.

Get the fish cleaned first, or if you like you can do it yourself. Wash and cut all your vegetables into pieces.

Blend three cloves of garlic, a handful of parsley, two chillies,  and add a bit of salt, pepper.

1. Rub the mixture of garlic, parsley and chilli on each side of the fish, add salt, and set fish aside.
2. Fry the chopped onions until golden brown, then add three spoons of tomato paste. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring.
3. Pour two litres of water into the pot with the stock. Add all your vegetables, salt and pepper and let it cook slowly for an hour.
4. Add the fish with the vegetables half hour into cooking, then take everything out and put it into a bowl.
5. Add six cups of rice to the stock and sauce and leave to simmer while stirring, taste to make make sure if you need to add seasoning. Cover and leave to cook.

Put in a big bowl like this or just serve in each plate, and bonne appetit!


The Kaldou is very easy to make and tastes beautiful. Buy fresh fish, any of your personal choice. I again use snapper. Clean the fish, then cut tomatoes, lemons, onions, ginger, garlic and chillies into small pieces.

1. Blend the onions, ginger, garlic and chillies.
2. Put the fish in a pot. Add the onion mixture with the lemon and two cups of water, salt and pepper. You can also add in your vegetables. Leave to simmer for 30-45 minutes, taste, and done.
3. Cook your rice and when that is done, serve by putting the rice onto a plate, then add the fish. Et voila!

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