Nigerian jollof spaghetti
Nigerian jollof spaghetti is an adaptation of the popular, iconic and delectable Jollof rice. Spaghetti is used in place of the rice in Jollof rice. It is the classic way spaghetti is cooked in Nigeria.
When a food ingredient is loved and adopted in Nigeria, so many awesome twists are added to it you’d think its homegrown. Jollof spaghetti fills lunch boxes just like jollof rice because it stays fresh for long, it is sold as both street food, fast food and gourmet just like jollof rice and also served at parties though not as regularly as jollof rice.
Any add-ons like vegetables and proteins are thoroughly optional. It is good as a vegetarian dish. You will also enjoy Macaroni with vegetables, another delicious pasta dish.
If you already have Nigerian stew base stored in your freezer like I always do, then Nigerian jollof spaghetti will be a breeze.
A good pasta dish starts with well cooked pasta, see 14 tips for cooking pasta.
To prepare Nigerian jollof spaghetti
6 tablespoons vegetable oil 260g whole tomato 40g tatashe (fresh paprika pepper)* 20g shombo (fresh cayenne pepper)* 120g onions 2 scotch bonnet (fresh pepper) 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme 1/2 teaspoon dry rosemary 1/2 teaspoon curry powder 1 dry bay leaf 2 seasoning cubes 300g spaghetti** * Substitute with any red peppers that are flavourful **You can break the spaghetti in 2 or 3, I prefer to cook it whole.
Deseed tatashe, peel onions and garlic.
Wash and grind tomato, tatashe, shombo, onions and scotch bonnet. Set aside.
Put oil in a dry pot and place over medium heat. When hot, add garlic and stir, add thyme, rosemary, curry powder and bayleaf.
Once it gets aromatic, which takes only seconds, stir in the tomato mix.
Cook until reduced. Keep frying and stirring until there is a thin layer of oil on top, it is ‘dry’ now.
The sauce can easily burn at this stage so stir often. Take off the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, place a pot of water on high heat (the volume of water should be enough to cover the spaghetti more than twice see 14 tips for cooking pasta). Bring the water to a roaring boil, add salt, then add spaghetti. Be sure it is completely submerged, stir frequently to loosen the spaghetti. Boil till al dente (cooked but still have some bite), about 8-11 minutes.
Drain using a sieve and retain 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Pour this cooking water into the tomato sauce and place over medium high heat add seasoning cube stir and boil to reduce.
Add spaghetti and mix well using a spaghetti spoon, tong or fork, making sure every strand is well coated.
Taste, correct seasoning, cook for 2 minutes and take off the heat.
Serve with a protein of your choice.
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