An empty belly has no ears. – proverb from Senegal

As the evening grew darker we arrived in Dakar, the capital of Senegal in western Africa. The city is best known for being the finishing point of the famous race that starts in Paris, but we were to find out that the cooking there isn’t done with quite the same speed. We had ceebu jen, a very popular dish, Akkra, sweet potato maafe and banana pudding. The bubbles this time was Nederburg, with a good and different taste! Scroll down to find out how many mice this evenings food got! And as they say: an empty bell has no ears, and you need ears for the right feeling:

While cooking, you can listen to our Senegal-playlist at Spotify!

CEEBU JEN20160422-DSCF3405


  • 1 pounds Whole fish (or fillets, see variations), cleaned
  • 1/8 cup Parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 Hot chile peppers, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper – to season
  • 1/8 cup Peanut, red palm or vegetable oil
  • 1 Onions, chopped
  • 1/8 cup Tomato paste
  • 3 cups Stock or water
  • 1 ½ Carrots, cut into rounds
  • ¼ head Cabbage, cut into wedges
  • ¼ pound Pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and cubed
  • ½ Eggplant, cubed
  • 1 cup of Rice
  • Lemons, cut into wedges


  1. Rinse the fish inside and out with cool water and pat dry.
  2. Cut three diagonal slashes about 1/2 inch deep in each side of the fish. Mix the chopped parsley, chile peppers, garlic, salt and pepper and stuff the mixture (called roff) into the slashes on the fish.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, deep pot over medium-high flame. Brown the fish on both sides in the hot oil and remove to a plate.
  4. Add the chopped onions to the hot oil and saute until cooked through and just beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste and about 1/4 cup of water and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in the stock or water, carrots, cabbage, pumpkin and eggplant and simmer over medium heat for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through and tender.
  7. Add the browned fish and simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Remove the fish and vegetables and about 1 cup of the broth to a platter, cover and set in a warm oven.
  8. Strain the remaining broth, discarding the solids. Add enough water to the broth to make 4 cups and return to heat.
  9. Bring the broth to a boil, stir in the rice and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and tender.
  10. Spread the cooked rice in a large serving platter, including any crispy bits (the xooñ) sticking to the bottom of the pan. Spread the vegetables over the center of the rice and top with the fish.
  11. Finally, pour the reserved broth over all. Serve with lemon wedges. Ceebu jen is traditionally eaten with the hands from a common serving dish.



  • ½ Black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
  • ½ Onion, chopped
  • ¼ Water
  • 1 or 2 tablespoonsHot pepper sauce
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
  • Oil for deep frying (see notes and variations)


  1. Place the beans in a large bowl and add water to cover.
  2. Rub the beans back and forth with your hands to remove their skins. The skins will rise to the surface and can then be skimmed off. Drain the beans.
  3. Place the beans and the chopped onion in a food processor. Process to a puree, adding just enough water to form a thick paste. Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper.
  4. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a sauté pan over medium-high flame until it shimmers. Or use a deep fryer and heat the oil to 365 to 375ºF.
  5. Drop spoonsful of the batter into the hot oil, turning until they brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate hold warm until all the batter has been used up.
  6. Serve immediately with hot pepper sauce.

Sweet Potato Maafe20160422-DSCF3400


  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled and cubed (or substitute boneless chicken breast)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 turnips (or other root vegetable), peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • Sea salt and white pepper to taste


  1. In a large skillet, saute onion and sweet potato until browned.
  2. Add carrot, turnip, tomato, and broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat and simmer until carrots are soft.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste and peanut butter with a little hot broth.
  5. Add peanut butter mixture to pot along with cabbage and stir to combine.
  6. Add cayenne and season to taste.

Banana Pudding20160422-DSCF3420


  • 200 g store bought Van wafers/cookies
  • 250g Vanilla pudding
  • 1 can Whipped cream
  • 2 Bananas, mediumm sliced


  1.  In a baking dish, put the cookies in a single layer.
  2. Layer the vanilla pudding on top of the cookies.
  3. Lay the banana slices on top of the pudding.
  4. Repeat a layer of cookies on top of the banana, followed by the vanilla pudding.
  5. Add another layer of the cookies on top of the vanilla pudding. Top with a last and final layer of the sliced
  6. bananas. Scoop out a portion of the banana pudding.
  7. Put some whipped cream and add the portion of the Banana pudding, followed by some more whipped cream.





Next we will be crossing the Atlantic and will be heading to Recifé, also known as the Brazilian Venice.

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