from: Western Africa | cooking method: boiling-simmering
Benachin is a "one-pot" dish related to Jollof Rice and Ceebu Jën. They are all "rice and . . . " dishes, i.e., rice and whatever else is available that strikes the cook's fancy. The most common method of preparing Benachin is to cook the ingredients in a large pot, starting with whatever needs the longest cooking time, then adding the rice and any additional liquid needed and simmering until the rice is done. Sometimes, the rice is steamed in a colander which is placed over the fish and vegetables while they are cooking, then it is stirred in with the rest to finish cooking. Alternately, the fish and vegetables are removed from the pot, and the rice is cooked in the remaining liquid, then the fish and vegetables gently stirred into the rice. This is a fish Benachin recipe, but chicken or beef could also be used.
What you need
- one cup cooking oil
- one clove garlic, minced (optional)
- two onions, chopped
- two to three pounds of fresh fish, perch is good but any fish can be used (fillets or whole)
- one squash (butternut or similar works well) or sweet pumpkin, peeled and chopped
- one hot chile pepper and/or one sweet green pepper, cleaned and chopped (optional)
- two tomatoes (peeled if desired), chopped; or canned tomatoes
- one spoonful tomato paste
- one small cabbage, chopped (optional)
- two carrots, chopped (optional)
- one bay leaf
- one bouillon cube
- two cups of rice, (rinsed)
- one piece dried fish
- salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper or red pepper, to taste
What you do
- Heat the oil in a large pot. Fry the garlic and onions for minute over high heat. Fry the fish for a few minutes on each side, then remove the fish and set it aside.
- Add the squash or pumpkin and cook for a few minutes more, stirring often.
- Add the chile pepper and/or green pepper and cook for a few minutes more.
- Add the cabbage, carrots, bay leaf, and bouillon cube. Add two cups of water and stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a boil.
- Stir in the rice, making sure it all gets wet. Add the dried fish.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until everything is tender. Season to taste.
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