Ceebu Jën Recipe - A Delicious Senegalese Dish

Ceebu Jën

Ceebu Jën Recipe - A Delicious Senegalese Dish
Region / culture: Senegal | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 6


Ceebu Jën
Ceebu Jën

Ceebu Jën, also known as Thieboudienne, is a traditional Senegalese dish that is considered the national dish of Senegal. This flavorful and hearty dish consists of fish stuffed with a mixture of herbs and spices, cooked in a tomato-based sauce with vegetables and served over rice.


Ceebu Jën has its origins in the Wolof people of Senegal and is a dish that is commonly prepared for special occasions and gatherings. The name Ceebu Jën translates to "rice and fish" in Wolof, reflecting the main ingredients of the dish.


Stuffing mixture ("roof" or "roff")

How to prepare

  1. Prepare the stuffing mixture by combining the ingredients and grinding them into a paste. Add a little oil or water if needed. Some cooks in Africa use a maggi cube. Cut deep slits into the fish (but not all the way through) and stuff them with the stuffing mixture.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot. Fry the onions and dried/salted/smoked fish for a few minutes. Then fry the fresh fish for a few minutes on each side. Remove the fish and set aside.
  3. Stir the tomato paste and a cup of water into the oil in the pot. Add the root vegetables, tubers, and hot chile pepper. Add enough water to partially cover them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or more.
  4. Add the leaf and fruit vegetables, place the fried fish on top of them, and continue to simmer for an additional twenty minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Remove the fish and vegetables from the pot and set them aside, keeping them warm. Take out a cup or two of the vegetable broth and set it aside. Add the rice to the remaining vegetable broth. Adjust the amount of water as needed to have two parts liquid to one part rice. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on very low heat until the rice is cooked—about twenty minutes. It should have a slightly sticky texture on the bottom of the pot.
  6. Find the hot chile pepper among the vegetables. Combine it with the reserved vegetable broth in a small saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Remove and discard the pepper, then transfer the sauce to a dish or gravy boat.
  7. When the rice is done, turn the pot over onto a large serving platter. Scrape the crust (known as xooñ) from the bottom of the pot over the rice. Arrange the fish and vegetables over and around the rice. Garnish with parsley and sliced limes (to squeeze over the fish) as desired.
  8. Serve Jus de Bissap with your meal, and green tea with mint afterwards.


  • Substitute different types of fish or seafood for a unique flavor profile.
  • Add additional vegetables such as eggplant or squash for added texture and flavor.
  • Experiment with different herb and spice combinations for a personalized touch.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to properly stuff the fish with the herb and spice mixture to ensure maximum flavor.

- Use a combination of dried, salted, and fresh fish for a more complex flavor profile.

- Be sure to simmer the vegetables until they are tender but still retain their shape and texture.

- The xooñ, or crust, that forms on the bottom of the pot while cooking the rice is a prized delicacy and should be scraped off and served with the dish.

Serving Suggestions

Ceebu Jën is traditionally served with a side of Jus de Bissap (hibiscus drink) and green tea with mint.

Cooking Techniques

Stuffing the fish with the herb and spice mixture is a key technique in preparing Ceebu Jën.

- Simmering the vegetables until tender but still firm ensures a flavorful and vibrant dish.

Ingredient Substitutions

If red palm oil is not available, you can substitute with vegetable oil or olive oil.

- Feel free to use any combination of vegetables that you prefer in this dish.

Make Ahead Tips

Ceebu Jën can be prepared in advance and reheated before serving. The flavors will continue to develop over time, making it a great dish for meal prep.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Ceebu Jën on a large platter with the rice as the base, topped with the fish and vegetables. Garnish with parsley and sliced limes for a pop of color.

Pairing Recommendations

Ceebu Jën pairs well with a crisp white wine or a cold glass of hibiscus drink. Green tea with mint is also a refreshing option to serve alongside this dish.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers of Ceebu Jën in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Ceebu Jën contains approximately 400 calories.


Ceebu Jën is a carbohydrate-rich dish due to the inclusion of rice as the main component. Each serving contains approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates.


The red palm oil used in Ceebu Jën adds a rich and flavorful element to the dish. Each serving contains approximately 15 grams of fat.


Fish is the primary source of protein in Ceebu Jën, with each serving containing approximately 25 grams of protein.

Vitamins and minerals

Ceebu Jën is a nutrient-dense dish that provides a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium from the vegetables and fish.


Ceebu Jën contains fish and may not be suitable for individuals with fish allergies.


Overall, Ceebu Jën is a well-balanced dish that provides a good mix of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.


Ceebu Jën is a flavorful and hearty Senegalese dish that is perfect for special occasions and gatherings. With a combination of fish, vegetables, and rice, this dish is a well-balanced meal that is sure to impress your guests.

How did I get this recipe?

I can't forget the first time I saw this recipe for Ceebu Jën. I was a young girl, visiting my aunt in Senegal for the summer. I remember waking up to the sound of pots and pans clinking in the kitchen, the enticing aroma of spices wafting through the air.

Curious, I made my way to the kitchen where I found my aunt, a master in the kitchen, preparing a traditional Senegalese dish called Ceebu Jën. She showed me how to clean the fish, season it with a blend of spices, and simmer it in a rich tomato broth with vegetables and rice.

As I watched her work her magic in the kitchen, I was mesmerized by the way she moved with such grace and precision. It was as if she was conducting a symphony, each ingredient playing its part in creating a harmonious melody of flavors.

I asked my aunt where she learned to make Ceebu Jën, and she told me that the recipe had been passed down through generations in our family. She explained that each ingredient had a special meaning and significance, from the fish symbolizing abundance and prosperity to the vegetables representing growth and renewal.

I was fascinated by the history and tradition behind the dish, and I knew that I had to learn how to make it myself. My aunt was more than happy to teach me, and we spent the rest of the summer cooking together, bonding over our shared love of food and family.

When it was time for me to return home, my aunt gifted me with a handwritten recipe for Ceebu Jën, along with a collection of spices and ingredients to get me started. I treasured that recipe, keeping it safe in my recipe box, and I made it a point to cook Ceebu Jën for my own family on special occasions.

Over the years, I continued to hone my skills in the kitchen, experimenting with different variations of the recipe and incorporating my own twists and techniques. I found that cooking Ceebu Jën brought me a sense of comfort and connection to my roots, reminding me of the time I spent with my aunt in Senegal.

Through the years, I learned to adapt the recipe to suit my family's tastes, adding more heat with fiery scotch bonnet peppers or infusing it with additional spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Each time I made Ceebu Jën, it was a labor of love, a tribute to my aunt and the traditions that she had passed down to me.

Now, as a grandmother, I take great joy in passing on the recipe for Ceebu Jën to the next generation. I teach my grandchildren the importance of using fresh, quality ingredients and the art of cooking with patience and love. I watch as they eagerly help me in the kitchen, their faces lighting up with excitement as they learn the secrets of this beloved dish.

As I stand in my kitchen, surrounded by the familiar scents and sounds of cooking, I am reminded of the power of food to bring people together, to create lasting memories and traditions that will be cherished for years to come. And as I take a taste of the steaming bowl of Ceebu Jën that I have prepared, I am filled with a sense of pride and gratitude for the recipe that has been a constant source of comfort and joy in my life.


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