Thursday 24 January 2008

New African Recipes: Cëebu Jen from Senegal

With my work on the Help Stefan campaign I've just returned from Dakar, Senegal after both visiting my wife and presenting the Liberian community with sufficient money to send two of their children to school for an entire year. Of course, as a result of visiting both my wife and the Liberian community I have gained a whole slew of new recipes. Many of these are presented on my African Recipes recipe list page. However, the majority of the recipes come originally either from East Africa (specifically Kenya and Zanzibar) or North Africa (Morocco, Algeria and Egypt). There are also many additional recipes from the East African country of Benin.

Cëebu Jen Recipe from Senegal

250g black-eyed beans (with a few black beans added to approximate the colour of native African cowpeas)
2 small cabbages
1 medium aubergine
2 medium carrots, halved and cut lengthways
3 Scotch Bonnet chillies
250g French beans 'topped and tailed'
3 x Maggi cubes
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
2 chickens, quartered
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
8 garlic cloves
1 large bunch curly parsley, washed and roughly chopped
5 Maggi cubes
300g cassava peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 tsp baking soda.
1 tbps chilli paste (made by pounding 12 Scotch bonnet chillies and 1/2 onion, sliced to a paste in a pestle and mortar)
500g rice
lime wedges to garnish

Put the black-eyed beans (and black beans) in a large pot and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 50 minutes, or until the beans are soft. When done take off the heat and allow to cool in the cooking liquid. Meanwhile chop and mix the vegetables and season with the Maggi cubes, salt and black pepper.

Add the garlic and black peppercorns to a pestle and mortar and pound to a paste. Add half the parsley, half a Maggi cube and pound to incorporate. Use this paste to stuff into he chicken pieces (placing it under the skin). Season with the remaining Maggi cube half and place in a large pot. Cover the pot, place on a medium flame and allow to cook slowly for about 20 minutes then take off the heat.

Heat a 2cm depth of oil in a large pan. Add the chicken pieces to this and fry until done, turning them every few minutes. When the chicken is done (About 20 minutes), add the baking soda to the oil and use it to fry the vegetables. Add 1 tbsp chilli paste and cover the pot, allowing the vegetables to cook for about 10 minutes.

At this time drain the black-eyed beans (reserving the cooking liquid) and add to the other vegetables. Allow to cook for a further 10 minutes then add about 500ml water and 500ml of the bean cooking liquid and bring the mixture to a boil. Season with 2 Maggi cubes, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Allow to cook for some 30 minutes before adding the chicken pieces. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for a further 20 minutes then lift the chicken and vegetables into a separate pot along with 2 large ladlefuls of the cooking liquid. Leave about half the beans behind if you can.

Return the cooking liquid to a pot, bring to a boil and use this to cook your rice. You will need about 500g of rice and 1l of liquid (add more of the bean cooking liquid if you don't have enough). Cook until the rice is done and all the liquid has been absorbed.

Cëebu Jen is traditionally eaten as a shared dish. To serve arrange the rice over the serving tray and spoon the chicken and vegetables over the top and garnish with lime wedges. These should be squeezed over the dish when ready to eat. Simply give everyone a spoon and let them tuck in. The dish can also be eaten with the hands. Roll the rice into balls and eat.

Please note that this recipe is my wife's original recipe and it cannot be copied without permission. It is proffered as a 'thank you' to all who have contributed to and helped with the One Million People Campaign. If you enjoyed this recipe, then please consider making a donation yourself. Only $1, if enough donate, can make a real difference to those who have nothing...

For more African Recipes, see the Celtnet Recipes Blog African Recipes page.

Recipes of Africa eBook
This list of African regions and African recipes is brought to you in association with the Recipes of Africa eBook. With over 1000 recipes covering each and every country in Africa, this is the most comprehensive book of African recipes available anywhere.

If you love African food, or are just interested in African cookery, then the Recipes of Africa eBook is a must-buy. You get information about every region of Africa and every African country along with a selection of classic and traditional recipes from that country.

This is a must-get book for anyone interested in food. Learn about a continent that to this day remains mysterious to many people. The recipes presented here are written by someone who has travelled extensively in Africa and who is a published Author. The book is a properly-produce and published eBook and the collection is immense.

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