Updated: May 3
Jollof rice is THE African staple meal! Whether you’re at a party or spending a regular Saturday at a Nigerian home, Jollof is always readily available and usually, there’s more than enough to go around. When it was time to go off to Uni some years ago, I knew I had to perfect my skills because Jollof rice was quite literally all I ever ate! To call it my favourite meal would be an understatement. Fast forward four years later, I’ve perfected my family recipe (my Brother Rasheed makes the meanest batch of Jollof you will ever taste, second only to mumsy of course, and my sister Rafat thinks she cooks it better than I do but I’ll let her keep dreaming).
Whenever I post my “What’s for dinner” flicks on my Instagram stories, I often get a barrage of questions as to how to make the meal I’m showing off with Jollof rice being the most requested, so I decided to share my recipe with any and everyone who would like to give it a try!
What You’ll Need
Rice ( I use Parboiled or long grain)
Scotch bonnet (any hot pepper works really)
Knorr cubes or powder
Chicken stock (you can use beef if you’d like.. that’s your business 😉)
Cajun spice (my spin)
Parsley, as a garnish
Palm oil (Controversial, I know. I’m a tree lover but tradition and culture stays, always.)
Please note, I do not measure! I cook with sense (Insert Naija uncle accent here); so please know your portions and season to your own taste.
Pour equal parts vegetable oil and palm oil into your pot and bring to a hot simmer, then throw in some thinly sliced onions. When the onion is fully caramelized, pour in your puréed mix of blended Bell peppers , Tomatoes, Tomato paste, Onions, Garlic, Ginger, and Scotch bonnet or any hot pepper of your liking. Cover the pot and let this mixture cook for about 5 minutes.
Now it’s time to season the stew! Pour in 1/2 a cup of chicken stock, some Knorr cubes or powder, thyme, curry, smoked paprika, cajun spice, chopped oregano, and a few bay leaves.
Stir the mixture and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Pour your thoroughly rinsed rice into the mixture (wash the rice by running warm water over it until the water runs clear; this strips the rice of excess starch and dirt). As a rule of thumb, you’d want to use 1 cup of water per cup of long grain or parboiled rice for a nice al dente consistency. Turn stove to medium or low heat and cover the pot. DO NOT STIR THE RICE. Stirring the rice while cooking activates the natural starch in it and causes it to burn at a more rapid pace (Jollof sticks to the pot quite easily, which is ok as it gives the rice a nice smokey flavour). If the water evaporates completely before it reaches the consistency you prefer, add water as you go. Not too much though, gage the progress accordingly. When done, turn off the fire and stir the pot to ensure an even red colour throughout. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, then serve!
Lemon Honey grilled chicken
Sautéed mixed vegetables
Roasted celery-bellpepper-potato combo (heaven!)
I might make a post on how I make these side dishes depending on how well this post is received.
Love and gratitude..