Benachin quite literally means “one pot” (bena is one in Wolof, and chin is pot). This is because to cook this most iconic of dishes, you need only one large pot. That means, that if you are using more than one pot to cook this, you are cheating!
1kilogram of beef or mutton, cut into large cubes
500milliliters of peanut oil
4 tablespoons tomato concentrate paste
100 grams tomatoes, finely diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 litre of water
500grams of rice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 large Maggi cubes
200 grams of carrots, cut in half
200 grams of pumpkin, cut in 4 pieces
200 grams of aubergine (eggplant), cut into 4
½ cabbage, cut into 4
3 kani chillies
Salt & pepper to taste
1. In a deep pan, heat the oil until scalding.
2. Deep fry the meat until cooked throughout, then remove and set aside.
3. Add the chopped onions, tomatoes, tomato puree and cayenne to the hot oil.
4. Stir for 2 minutes on medium heat.
5. Add water, 2 Maggi cubes, 2 kani chillies, bay leaves and the vegetables.
6. Simmer for 30 minutes.
7. As the vegetables cook, remove and keep warm (the aubergine should cook first and the carrot last).
8. Add the rice to the pan (still containing the simmering juices) and stir well.
9. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-30 minutes (until the rice has soaked up all the water and is tender and cooked).
10. Serve the rice with the vegetables and meat on top.
Traditionally, benachin is made with beef, mutton, chicken and/or fish – potentially all together if you can afford all of them. I have split the recipes into fish, chicken and beef/mutton; I did this to showcase three very different ways to cook the benachin. The actual meat used is just a particular!
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