To begin your thieboudienne, start by prepping your fish and vegetables. Clean and cut your fish in large pieces and start piercing two or three holes in the flesh with a knife. The filling will be stuffed in these holes. Do not prick the skin of the fish.
For the vegetables, cut them into big pieces. Clean and peel the carrots, cut them in half only if needed to fit in the pot. Quarter the eggplant, as well as the peeled cassava. Clean the cabbage and cut it into quarters as well.
For the fish stuffing, start by making a garlic paste in the mortar and pestle. To this, add parsley, onions, habanero pepper, and finally bouillon powder. Keep grinding as you add new ingredients to achieve a paste-like consistency.
Fill the knife cuts in the fish with this stuffing. Shallow fry these pieces till brown on all sides. Take them out of the pan and let it rest.
In the same pan, add onion and fry until translucent. To this, add the tomato paste and mix it well. The color of this mix will turn somewhere between red to brown.
Once the paste is properly fried, add crushed garlic. Let the garlic turn golden before you add the peppers. You can crush the habanero peppers in a paste or roughly chop them.
Add the vegetables to this mix. Add water so the vegetables are almost covered and stir in bouillon cubes. Cover the utensil with a lid and let the vegetables cook for 10-15 mins on medium-high heat. Stir the pot through the process, if necessary.
When the vegetables are close to done, add the fried fish to the pot. Let it sit till the vegetables are properly cooked.
Once done, pick the fish out and let it rest. Next, pick the vegetables and place them in a separate dish.
Let the pan with the gravy be on heat. To this, add rice which has been soaked for about 15-20 minutes. Stir it well, put the lid on, and let the rice cook properly.
Once your rice is done, it is time to serve. This is a dish that brings people together and is supposed to be served in a way to reflect that. Start by taking a large hollow plate or a bowl.
Start by plating the rice as the deepest layer in the bowl. Over this, add a layer of burnt rice, if any. Place the vegetables and fish over this as the final layer.
Enjoy with friends and family.