Traditionally, this dish calls for thiof, a firm, white-fleshed fish from the sea bass family, but as this is not available locally, we’ve used mullet. Eat this stew with your fingers as they do in Senegal and you’ll find it much easier to find and remove the bones.






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (34 votes)


  • ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 2 x 500 g whole mullet, cleaned
  • 95 g (⅓ cup) tomato paste
  • 400 g can chopped tomatoes
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) peanut oil
  • 150 g fillet smoked fish, such as smoked cod
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 habanero chilli (see Note), seeded, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1 small orange sweet potato (kumara), cut into 3 cm pieces
  • 250 g cassava (see Note), peeled, cut into 3 cm pieces
  • ¼ white cabbage, cut into wedges
  • 280 g (1⅓ cups) broken rice (see Note)
  • 1 lime, juiced

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Using a mortar and pestle, finely grind parsley, garlic and 1 tsp salt.

Remove and discard fish heads and tails, then cut each fish in half. Using a paring knife, make small slits in skin, then rub with parsley mixture. Combine tomato paste, tomatoes and 1 litre water in a bowl.

Heat oil in a large, heavy-based pan over medium heat. Cook mullet and smoked fish for 2 minutes each side or until golden, then transfer to a plate.

Add onion and chilli to same pan and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in tomato mixture, carrots, sweet potato and cassava. Bring to the boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and fish, and cook for a further 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and fish is just cooked. Transfer solids to a plate and keep warm. Reserve pan with liquid.

Place rice and 750 ml water in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, add to reserved pan with cooking liquid. Add lime juice. Bring to the boil, stirring, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until rice is tender. Transfer to a plate, top with fish and vegetables, and serve.


• Habanero chillies are available from selected supermarkets and greengrocers. 
• Cassava is available fresh and frozen from Asian food shops.
• Broken (cracked) rice is available from Asian food shops.


Photography by Janyon.


As seen in Feast magazine, Jan 2012, Issue 5. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.