Either jollof rice or jellof rice is the most common West African dish eaten in the regions of Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Cameroun and Liberia. However, each of these West African countries has their own variation of this meal. It is inexpensive and easy to make yet delicious, rich, incredibly and tasty.
It is a very versatile dish and it’s usually made from scratch using rice, tomatoes, pimento peppers, tomato paste, scotch bonnet, onions, salt, magi and other spices. We usually sever jollof rice with chicken, turkey, beef, goat meat or fish and sometimes with a side fresh creamy coleslaw or salad. In West Arica, parties such as wedding ceremony or naming ceremony are not complete without this meal. When you are cooking jollof rice, having your flavour base is always very important. Never be in a haste to dump your ingredients in the pot otherwise, you’ll end up with what we call concoction. Each steps counts so try to do each of the steps in details.
There are two different types of jollof rice, which are the party jollof rice and the normal jollof rice that is prepared at home. But the major difference between both the two is that the party jollof rice is usually over spiced with lots of condiments to look more colourful and tasty. And the normal jollof rice we usually cooked at home is moderately spiced and of course tasty as well.
Many people do argue that the reason why the party rice is always preferred the best lies in its smoky aroma accumulated during the cooking process with firewood. All though there might be an atom of truth in that, but jollof rice can be prepared at home under any kind of fire.
There are quite a lot of rice types that can be used to make jollof rice. But I prefer using the long grain parboiled rice. This rice is soaked, steamed and dried. Then the hull is removed to make parboiled rice, the steaming enables the rice to absorb nutrients and changes the starch so that it cooks into a firmer, less sticky dish of rice than the regular rice.
- 6 cups of long grain rice
- ¾ cups of olive oil
- 5 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon of curry
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
- 1 sliced big onion
- White or black pepper to taste
- 4 drumsticks or full chicken
- Seasoning cubes
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 red bell pepper
- 3 tomatoes plum
- 2 scotch bonnet
- 1 diced onions
Blend your fresh tomatoes, red bell pepper and scotch bonnet together until it’s roughly smooth.
Scotch bonnet is the kind of chilli normally used in making jollof rice. You can replace it with any regular chillies if you can’t get it. Adjust the chilli amount according to your heat tolerance amd have it in mind that scotch bonnet is not really hot.
Bear this in mind, before you start cooking, it is very important for you to be conscious of the quantity of oil you add to your jollof rice. Apparently, jollof rice requires a little vegetable oil for it yo dry properly without burning.
- 1. In a large pan, preheat the cooking oil. When is hot, add the diced onions and fry for 3 minutes, until the onions becomes soft.
- 2. Add your tomato paste. And fry for another 3 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger and bay leaves and allow cooking in the tomato paste for about two minutes.
- 3. Add the blended pepper and allow to cook till the water is entirely reduce and you see the oil floating on the fried pepper.
- 4. Season with the thyme, curry powder, salt to your taste and seasoning cubes. Leave to cook for another 2 to 5 minutes.
- 5. Stir in your rice not until is well coated with the sauce. You then add the chicken stock and cover with a tight fitting lid and allow it to come to a boiling point.
- 6. When it starts boiling and the water starts reducing, reduce the heat to medium low and steam until the rice is properly cooked.
- 7. Turn off the heat when done and add the slice onions and stir together briefly. Then cover it up immediately so that the remaining heat in the rice can steam up the onions a little bit.
For the Chicken
If you are using the whole chicken, then wash and cut it into the desired pieces you want. Then cook with thyme, curry powder, knorr cubes, onions, garlic, ginger and little salt. The cooking time depends on the type of chicken you are using, the rooster or cockerel cooks faster than the hen but the hen is most definitely tastier.
When is cooked, then you fry or you grill it in the oven. Please give it a golden look, is more presentable not only to your guest but also to your family.
The bay leaves are normally removed once the rice is done. However, if you can’t find the bay leaves after the rice is done, do not be tempted to dig through it since over stirring will cause the rice to break. Just leave it and remove it whenever you find it.
Your Nigerian Jollof Rice is done and ready to be served. You can serve with drumstick or any kind of meat (turkey, beef, goat meat or even fish for vegetarians) with cold Salad along side with a bottle of your favourite drink.
You can also serve Nigerian Jollof with fried plantain, moi—moi or as desired.