The cuisine of Sénégal has been influenced by nations like France, Portugal, and those of North Africa, and also by many ethnic groups, the largest being the Wolof; Islam, which first penetrated the region in the 11th century; and various European cultures, especially the French, who held the country as a colony until 1960. Immigrants have brought Senegalese restaurants to many world cities, where its popularity has been growing.
Because Senegal borders the Atlantic Ocean, fish is very important. Chicken, lamb, pea, eggs, and beef are also used in Senegalese cooking, but not pork, due to the nation’s largely Muslim population. Peanuts, the primary crop, as well as couscous, white rice, sweet potatoes, lentils, black-eyed peas and various vegetables, are also incorporated into many recipes. Meats and vegetables are typically stewed or marinated in herbs and spices, and then poured over rice or couscous or eaten with bread.
Popular fresh juices are made from bissap, ginger, Buy (pronounced buoy) which is the fruit of the baobab tree also known as "monkey bread fruit", mango, or other fruit or wild trees (most famously soursop [corossol]). Desserts are very rich and sweet, combining native ingredients with the extravagance and style characteristic of the French impact on Senegal’s culinary methods. They are often served with fresh fruit and are traditionally followed by coffee or tea.
- Thiéboudienne or Ceebu Jën: The literal English translation of the dish “The Rice of Fish”. Dubbed as the national dish of Senegal, it consists of flavoursome fish that has been marinated with parsley, lemon, garlic, onions (amongst other herbs), and then later cooked with tomato paste and a variety of vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, and carrots. Rice is later added to the mix giving it a reddish look. It is said to resemble the Spanish dish paella, from the region of Valencia (EatYourWorld.com).
- Thiébou yapp, or Ceebu Yapp: The literal English translation of the dish is “The Rice of Meat”. A close second in terms of favourite dishes amongst the Senegalese, Ceebu Yapp is usually cooked with beef (or lamb) that is first fried and garnished in onions, garlic, black pepper, red pepper, and salt (amongst other ingredients). Mustard and water is later added to the mix for the meat to tenderize and soak up all the flavours. Like Ceebu Jën, rice is then added to mix and tends to be garnished with either green olives or cooked black eyed peas.
- Thiébou guinaar, or Ceebu Guinaar: The literal English translation of the dish is “The Rice of Chicken”. It’s preparation and procedures is similar to that of Ceebu Yapp; the chicken is first fried with herbs and spices, and later soaked in water and mustard. When the rice is to be added, it is usually garnished with carrots.
- Thiébou guerté, or Ceebu guerté: The literal English translation of the dish is “The Rice of Peanut”. Peanut is known to be Senegal’s cash crop. It too follows the same preparations and procedures as Ceebu Yapp and Ceebu Guinaar in that the beef is first fried with herbs and spices. However, it is peanut butter that is added to the dish with water in order to allow the meat to soak up the flavour. Creating a thick paste, rice is then added to the mix. This dish is not very well known and it is cooked rarely amongst the Senegalese.
- Yassa: Now popular amongst other West African countries, Yassa is either chicken or fish that is first marinated with spices, and then simmered in a pan with onion, garlic, mustard, and lemon juice. This creates a chicken and onion sauce side-dish that is served with plain white rice.
- Maafe, seasoned fish, chicken, lamb, or beef cooked with vegetables in a tomato and peanut butter sauce.
- Bassi-salté, seasoned meat cooked with tomato paste and vegetables over a local couscous called "cere".
- Sombi, sweet milk-rice soup.
- Capitaine à la Saint-Louisienne, perch stuffed with spices.
- Thiakry, a couscous pudding.
- Cinq Centimes, the Five-Cent Cookie, a peanut cookie popular in marketplaces.
- Banana Glace, a sophisticated banana soup dessert concentrated by Mamadou, owner of Les Cannibales Deux Restaurant in Dakar.
- Senegal: Recipes and Menus from Africa, University of Pennsylvania
- Senegal: Celtnet Recipes Senegal Recipes and Cookery
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