Jollof rice is a very popular dish consumed in various countries in West Africa, for example, Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroun. However, each of these West African countries has its own different variation of this meal. It is quite delicious yet cheap and easy to prepare.
Above all. the Nigerian jollof rice is a very rich and exceptionally tasty one-pot meal. It’s a very versatile dish which is spiced and stewed in an appetizing tomato broth, this dish is everything from an everyday meal to a party meal. It can be served with fried ripe plantains, fish, beef, chicken, fried, or boiled eggs. This meal everything.
When preparing the Nigerian Jollof rice, build a very good flavor base, this is very essential. Your jollof rice can turn into what I call a “concoction” when you dump your ingredients in the pot without following the adequate steps consecutively. Each step counts, so try as much as possible to follow each step in detail.
Ingredients for Jollof Rice
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (soya/coconut oil can do too)
- 4 medium-sized fresh tomatoes (grounded or chopped)
- 400-gram tin of tomatoes
- 6 fresh, red bell peppers (2 sliced and others grounded)
- 4 medium-sized red onions (slice 2 thinly and chop 2 roughly)
- 1/2 to 1 hot pepper
- 2 dried bay leaves
- crayfish (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (optional)
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 5 to 6 cups stock (chicken, vegetable, or beef) or water
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (optional)
- 4 to 5 cups of uncooked rice (parboil the rice)
- Salt, to taste
- Extra sliced onions, tomatoes (optional)
1. In a blender, add the red poblano (or bell) peppers, tomatoes, the 2 chopped onions, and Scotch bonnets and blend till smooth.
2. Blend the crayfish (i.e. if it’s part of your ingredients).
3. Parboil your rice — Pour the 4 to 5 cups of rice in a pot, add water proportionate to the rice, then heat till it’s half done. Sieve the rice, rinse with cold water Make sure to get rid of as much starch as possible by washing the rice until the water used becomes very clear. This helps to avoid the rice from sticking together when cooking, then keep the rice aside.
4. In a medium-sized pot, heat the oil and add the sliced onions. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes until the redness starts to fade, then add the bay leaves, dried thyme, curry powder, and very little black pepper, and keep stir-frying for 2 – 3 minutes on medium heat.
5. Add the tomato paste and stir for another 2 minutes or till the paste fully fries in the oil. Make sure to stir the paste steadily to avoid burning. Add in your crayfish for an additional tasty flavor.
6. Add the blended tomato-scotch bonnet-pepper mixture, stir, and set on medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes till it’s reduced by half, with the lid on. This is what will define your pot.
7. Add all your spices and mix, don’t add salt now. Cover the pot and allow the tomato to continue frying in the oil. Add more oil if necessary. You have to let the tomato fry properly to eliminate the slappy taste, therefore, make sure you don’t hurry this process. I would recommend letting it fry for about 10-15mins. Ensure you continuously stir the mixture to avoid burning.
8. Add 4 cups of the stock or water (if you didn’t arrange any stock) to the cooked tomato sauce, taste first to know the quantity of salt you’ll need to add, then bring it to boil for 1 – 2 minutes.
9. Add the rinsed rice and butter and stir. I personally like to cover the pot with aluminum foil before putting on the lid just to seal in the steam and lock in the flavor. Reduce the heat and then cook on low for 30 minutes. (The timing depends on how well you parboiled your rice so that it doesn’t get too soft).
10. Stir rice, taste, and adjust as necessary.
11. You can decide to add the extra sliced onions and tomatoes (optional).
12. After about 30 minutes open the pot and properly combine all the ingredients together (stir properly). Cover the pot again, and let it cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the rice has fully blended in with the mixture and the water dried out.
You can now enjoy your meal with either beef, chicken, fried, or boiled eggs.
You can also check on youtube how to prepare the Nigerian Jollof Rice.