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from: Western Africa | cooking method: baking

Mulet Farci à la Saint-Louisienne

The first French settlement in Africa, Saint-Louis, was founded in the 1600s and became an important center of trade and commerce. In the 1800- and 1900s, it was the capital of the French colony of Senegal and French West Africa. Well known for its African/French ambiance, Saint-Louis is located near the Senegal-Mauritania border on the islands and coast near the mouth of the Senegal River, which makes for a vibrant fishing culture. Saint-Louis is famous for this dish: Mulet Farci à la Saint-Louisienne -- Saint-Louis Stuffed Mullet (also called Dem à la Saint-Louisienne, Mulet Farci, Dem Farci, or Poisson Farci): Mullet stuffed with onions, peppers, tomatoes, and bread crumbs.

st. louis, senegal

What you need

What you do

A simpler stuffed fish can be made by mixing the stuffing ingredients (except bread crumbs) and filling the stomach cavity of the cleaned fish with the stuffing. Some cooks do without the fish broth.

Mullet are common in the coast waters of western Africa. In some places, when fishermen spot a school of mullet they "call" dolphins by whacking the water with sticks. The dolphins respond by driving the mullet towards shore, into the fishermen's nets.

In Senegal, mullets are called dems. The French word farci is from the verb farcir, meaning to stuff. Farcir is also seen in some old English recipes as the word forced to mean stuffed.

Other African stuffed fish recipes include Fish & Onions in Tomato Sauce and Ceebu Jën.

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