Jollof Rice or Jellof rice is a rich and incredibly tasty west African one pot Meal. It is a very versatile dish and it is usually made from scratch using Rice, Tomatoes, Pimento peppers, Tomato paste, Habanero peppers, Onions, Salt, and other spices.
We usually serve Jollof with Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Goat Meat or Fish and sometimes with a side of fresh creamy Coleslaw. In Nigeria, a party such as wedding ceremony or naming ceremony is not complete without this meal. It is a sure party pleaser.
Now let’s get to the basics of cooking Jollof Rice
Cooking rice can be a little tricky due to the fact that we have different varieties of Rice. However, a rule of thumb is to use twice as much liquid as Rice by volume. This should do the trick and you can add more if your Rice is getting dry and not yet tender during the cooking process. All we want is a perfectly cooked rice that will not come out wet and mushy.
Don’t get it wrong, Jellof rice can still be moist but not mushy depending on individual preferences. However, no matter how you like it, the cooler the Jollof becomes the dryer it becomes. Therefore, if you like it moist, simply eat your Jollof while still piping hot. If otherwise, you can wait a few minutes before serving it.
When cooking Jellof rice, building a flavor base is very important. Don’t be in a haste to dump your ingredients in the pot otherwise, you will end up with what we call ”concoction”. Each step counts so try to do each of the steps in details.
The inevitable foundation for building up the flavor in this meal is to start by sauteeing the Onions, Garlic and Ginger and this will help to deepen the flavor of the meal. This should take about a minute. Actually, by the time this ready, you will notice it in the smell. If you keep it cooking any longer you might risk burning them.
The next thing is to stir in the Tomato paste and this adds a deep and rich tomato flavor. I simply fry this for a little bit then I add my blended peppers. usually, there is no particular time frame for frying this pepper. I usually stop when the sauce becomes really thick and the oil literally floats on top of the sauce.
At this point, most of the water is gone and the sauce no longer smells raw. Trust me you will know but just in case, you are still in doubt, I would say maybe 10 to 15 minutes depending on the quantity of water in your blended pepper.
Finally, in building my flavor, I add the Thyme, Curry powder, bay leaf, Salt, cayenne pepper and seasoning cube. Adjust the seasoning at this point if there is a need to. Once I’m the flavor is on point, then, I stir in my Rice.
Make sure you stir the Rice properly until you cover each grain of Rice with the sauce. At this point, pour in your liquid. Give it a brief stir and cover it up with a tight-fitting lid. If your lid is not fitting enough, simply cover the rice with a foil paper before covering it with the lid. This is because Jollof needs a lot of steam in order to turn out well.
Once, the rice comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the rice is done. Serve with Fried Chicken, Spicy Grilled Chicken, Grilled Tilapia Fish or Gizdodo
My final thoughts on making a great Jollof Rice.
I have another Jollof Rice recipe here that I made using the Oven. If you are not a fan of this stove top method or you simply want to be adventurous or perhaps you just like to vary the way you cook Jollof rice. Then, you can try it out. Oven baked Jollof Rice
I don’t even want to go into the issue of the trending Jollof wars, especially between Nigeria and Ghana. All I know is that a good cook will make a good tasting Jollof Rice. In my own opinion, I think it has to do with the cooking abilities of an individual and not a country. Let me know your opinion. 🙂
Wiki has a very good article on Jollof Rice that might interest you. I enjoyed reading it, you might as well. 🙂
Other Rice recipes that you might want to try:
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- 2 Cups Rice Long grain
- 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 Tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp Butter optional
- 2 Cups Chicken stock or Turkey stock
- 1 cups water or 1 to 1-1/2
- 1 Teaspoon Curry Powder
- 1.5 Teaspoon Thyme
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 Tbsp Ginger minced
- Salt to taste
- 1 Onion Medium sized(sliced)
- 1 Tomato sliced (Large size)
- Cayenne pepper or black pepper to taste
For the sauce:
- 2 red bell Pepper
- 2 Tomatoes Plum
- 1 Habanero pepper
- 1 Onion Medium
- Preheat the cooking Oil and butter (if you choose to use it) in a pot
- Saute the Onions, Garlic, and Ginger for about 1 minute
- Add the Tomato Paste. Fry for few seconds then, add the blended peppers.
- Allow the pepper to cook until the water is totally reduced and the oil is seen floating on the fried pepper.
- Season with Thyme, Bay leaves, Curry powder, Cayenne pepper, salt to taste and bouillon Cube
- Stir in the Rice until it is well coated with the sauce then add the Chicken stock and water then cover it with a tight-fitting lid and allow it to come to a boil.
- Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat immediately to medium-low and cook until the rice is done.
- Turn off the heat and add the sliced Tomato and Onions, stir together briefly and cover it up immediately so that the heat remaining in the Rice can steam up the vegetables a little bit.
- You can serve with Plantains, Chicken, Vegetables or as desired. ENJOY!
NotesNormally, the bay leaves should be removed once the rice is done. However, if you can’t find the bay leaves after the rice is done, don’t 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. If you choose not to use butter, you will need to add an extra tbsp of Oil