Good morning from a remarkably cool 9am during hot season – it’s only 88 degrees! When the daily highs are hovering around 110 degreees it is a wonderful relief to wake up to the 80s.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but one of my favorite things about Senegalese food is the sometimes astonishing amounts of onions cooked into just one dish. Onions often far outweigh the other vegetables brought home from the market. Thankfully there are plenty to go around – I often see giant sacks full of them being unloaded from trucks at the ends of the market.
There are several dishes where onions really steal the show, Yassa being the most famous of all. Today’s recipe is for Yassa Boulette, a tangy onion sauce with fish balls on top of rice.
First we make the fish balls. These are pretty similar to the meatballs you’re used to, just made with fish instead. Pound peppercorns, garlic, bouillon, sweet pepper, salt and then add the ground fish and some flour or dried bread.
When it is completely mixed together, roll into small balls.
Fry these in hot oil until brown.
Chop up sweet peppers, carrots, green onions – these will go into the onion sauce.
Next: the onion sauce! Chop up a bunch of onions, I think we did 4 or 5 for the two of us. Pound these up with the same mixture as with the fish (garlic, pepper, bouillon).
Saute the onions and as they begin to soften add several tablespoons of mustard and vinegar. Cook this mixture for a good while. You want it to become soft and caramelized, with all the flavors melding together.
Add the chopped veggies to the sauce and continue to cook. Add some water and cover the pot with a lid.
Once everything is soft, add the fish balls and several pieces of potato or sweet potato. If you want your sauce spicier, add a fresh hot pepper. Continue to cook until the potatoes are soft.
Spread rice onto a platter or large bowl.
Finally spoon the yassa boulette on top of the rice.
Let’s eat, I’m hungry! Just look at all those onions…
Thanks for reading!