Ceebu Jen

I have received several requests for this recipe and am just getting around to it now (my apologies). This is often referred to as  the “national dish of Senegal,” and I can see why. It is absolutely delicious. Loaded with vegetables and fish, it is a welcome healthy variation of the rice and fish dishes served throughout Africa. I like to serve this with a little lime squeezed over the rice and fish…..Enjoy!


You will need:

1- 2 lb (1 kg) Whole fish

2 Tbsp cooking oil 
1/4 c parsley, chopped finely
1/2 c red bell pepper, chopped finely
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lime
Salt to taste
1 large onion, diced
6 oz (170g) Tomato paste 
1 Habanero pepper
6 cups water
2 Maggi/ bouillon cubes
2  large carrots, cut into chunks
1 medium Cassava, peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cabbage head, cut into wedges
                                                                                                                    3 cups short grain rice, uncooked


 Mix the oil, chopped parsley, garlic, salt and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime into the mixture

Cut three diagonal slots in each side of the fish.

Stuff the bell pepper/parsley mixture in the slashes and cavity of the fish.

Heat oil in large saucepan, add and saute chopped onion and garlic.

Add stuffed fish to saute onions and allow to brown evenly on both sides. When fish is browned, remove from oil mixture and put aside. (Tip: Brown but do not cook the fish, otherwise it will become overcooked and break into pieces.)

 Stir in the tomato paste, 4 cups waters, bay leaf, maggi cube, Habanero pepper and bring to a light simmer.

Add the carrots, cassava and potatoes to the tomato-onion mixture and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are almost fork tender.

Add the cabbage and place the browned fish over the vegetable mixture. Allow the fish to steam for 5-10 minutes on each side.

Remove the vegetables and fish from the mixture leaving only the broth. measure out the broth and add water to make sure that you have six cups of liquid in saucepan.

Add the rice, stir mixture and allow to cook on medium to low heat until cooked (about 30 -40 minutes). Serve assembled with the rice, vegetables and fish.



In Senegal, this dish is served family style in one dish where everyone gets to dig into the same place. But, if you prefer, you can serve it individually portioned on a plate.

Bon Appetit!

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Categories: African Food, What's Cooking?

Author:Cordialis Chipo

Cordialis is a Registered Dietitian (R.D) and a pioneer in the discussion of modern day healthy lifestyles in Africa. She is the founder of The African Pot Nutrition - a nutrition consultancy that improves the health of African people through sustainable diet and lifestyle programs. Follow her on twitter @africadietitian or on Facebook (The African Pot Nutrition.

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One Comment on “Ceebu Jen”

  1. June 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    This is a little bit like jollof. Great recipe, and full of veggie goodness too.


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