Traditional Dish Recipe: Pem Bem

My Magazine 2022/01
8 min
Pem bem is local food in The Gambia, mostly prepared by a Jola ethnic group. Pem bem is a likeable food rich in protein and vitamins. It is also very easy to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • Fish
  • Onion
  • Black pepper
  • Maggie Cube
  • Hot Pepper
  • Salt
  • Rice

Preparation:

Remove fish scales and clean the fish.

Pound the black pepper, hot pepper and onion. When pounded, put a small amount of water in the cooking pot and add the pounded mixture. Bring to boil and leave it cooking for about 15 mins.

Add the fish, some salt and Maggie cube. Bring to boil again and leave for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the type of fish.

Prepare the rice. Put a small amount of water into the pot and bring it to a boil. Wash the rice in the meantime. Put it in a colander and steam it for 10 minutes. Then remove it from the colander and put it on the cooking pot. Add a pinch of salt and leave it to cook for 10 more minutes.

Serve while hot. Traditionally, food is served in a big round bowl for the whole family. The sauce is poured on top.

NOTE: The fish is put last so it does not fall apart, and the onions get cooked properly.

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