Thieboudienne literally translated means the rice of fish in the Wolof language in Senegal. The name hardly does the dish justice.  Thieboudienne is considered to be the national dish of Senegal and for good reason, it is bursting with layers of excellent flavor.  Just one of the reasons Senegalese cuisine is known around the world as delicious.  By the way, you pronounce Thieboudienne  like this  (ceebu jen).

Thieboudienne can be made with an assortment of different vegetables so you can easily use what you like or have on hand.  Thieboudienne calls for a few unique ingredients.  Smoked fish is one which adds great flavor (I bought mine at my local African store.) Another is a spice called netetou which is a fermented bean that is ground up.  This spice has a strong unpleasant scent but completely changes into an umami flavoring when cooked.  I highly recommend you try it and it is also used in many other Senegalese and West African dishes. You can pick some up here. Just and FYI it goes by different names, so I included a link so you can get the right item. 

The puree or marinade that is made for the fish is exceptional, I will use it on all sorts of other things.  You can use any type of white firm fish you like but grouper or snapper would be most authentic.  Additionally you can use the whole fish or just fillets which is what I ended up using.  If using the whole fish you stuff the puree into slits or if using fillets you can marinade them in the puree, just plan some extra time for that. It should refrigerate for a couple of hours to absorb the delicious flavor.

They also use broken rice to make this dish. Typically, it is cheaper to purchase as it is not the pristine jasmine or basmati whole grains.  You can pick some up here if you want to use the real thing.

Just remember when making this amazing, flavorful dish, that it is totally adaptable.  Use the vegetables you like and eliminate what you don’t.  I do hope that you will make it and let me know how much you loved it.  It should be served and eaten on a large communal platter. Be sure to take a photo and tag me.

Thieboudienne The national dish of Senegal

This dish of fish and rice is so much more, it truly bursts with exceptional flavor.

 Course: Main Course 

Cuisine: Senegalese 

Prep Time: 30 minutes 

Cook Time: 1 hour 

marinading time: 2 hours 

Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes 

Servings: 6

Calories: 436kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups rice broken rice
  • 4 Large pieces white fish snapper or grouper
  • 3 tomatoes mashed
  • 3 Ttablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bunch parsley crushed
  • 1 large Carrot peeled and cut into medium pieces
  • 1 sweet potato peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped (divided)
  • 1 small eggplant sliced
  • 1 small cabbage cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 2 Maggi cubes
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon nététou
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked fish shredded or ground
  • 2 habanero peppers de-seeded and diced.
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 4 okra
  • 6 cups hot wate


Prepare the stuffing or puree/marinade for fish :

  • In a food processor or mortar and pestle blend or crush the parsley, half the garlic, 1 Maggi cube, plus a little salt and pepper to taste and a spoon of oil.
  • Cut slits if in the flesh of the fish and stuff the puree inside or slather the fillets with the puree and refrigerate for a couple of hours. (Reserve leftover puree)

Make the tomato sauce.

  • Heat the oil to medium high and add the onions , tomatoes, tomato paste , the black pepper and remaining garlic. Then fry for 15 minutes.
  • Add the stuffed or marinated fish into the tomato sauce.
  • Add the Maggi cube, bay leaves, nététou, smoked fish, habaneros and 1 cup of water.
  • Simmer until the fish pieces are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Remove the fish and add vegetables

  • Remove the fish pieces and add all the vegetables except okra with 1 cup of water and cook the vegetables until they are cooked approximately 25-30 minutes.
  • You must ensure that the vegetables are tender before removing them, but take care to not overcook them.
  • Then remove the vegetables and add the okra with water. Cook for 5 minutes more than remove the okra

Cooking the Rice

  • Cook the rice over low heat, stir often and cook until tender.
  • When the rice is cooked well its ready for serving. place the rice on a nice dish and arrange the vegetables and fish on top.