“If anyone says you eat too much Jollof rice, cut them from your life, you don’t need that kind of negativity” Anonymous (meme).
Nigerians are that passionate about Jollof rice. It is the make or break of every Nigerian social gathering, the ever-present dish. Nigerian jollof rice is rice cooked in a rich tomato sauce, like the Spanish Paella.
Jollof rice actually originated from Senegal/Gambia. When in my secondary school history class we were taught about the Wolof empire, the Burba Jollof etc., I developed a greater and deeper respect for this awesome rice dish that actually has a history, well kind of history. Jollof means ‘one pot’ in wolof.
It has been saving many menu-handicapped home cooks. Usually, as a no-frills cook, I always have my fried tomato stew base in the freezer. This saves me a lot of time when I need to cook anything that needs it as a base e.g Nigerian Jollof rice.
This recipe is a one-pot jollof rice straight from the stables of my agoyin cook friend Bose.
To prepare jollof rice, Nigerian Jollof rice
Chicken, beef, etc 3 cups rice 6-9 cups stock + water 1 cup + 2 tablespoons Tomato stew base 6 tablespoons tomato paste 2 teaspoons curry powder 2 teaspoons dry thyme 2 bay leaves 3 seasoning cubes salt 1 teaspoon ginger powder (optional)
Season and boil chicken or beef until tender, drain (set aside the stock) and fry or grill. Set aside.
Wash rice in several changes of water till water is almost clear. Leave in a bowl of water and set aside. (There has been an ongoing debate whether this stage actually helps with the texture of the finished dish, it works for me)
Strain your stock through a fine sieve and set aside.
In a dry pot put the tomato stew base and tomato paste and fry for 2 minutes.
Add stock, water, curry powder, thyme and seasoning cubes. Bring to a boil over medium-high flame.
Taste and add salt.
Drain and add the rice, stir and bring back to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover tightly.
When very little liquid is remaining, reduce heat further and cook till quite dry. If the rice is not soft enough, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of water over it and keep steaming.
Take off the heat and leave covered for about 5-10 minutes to absorb the last bit of moisture and dry out.
Stir and serve.
If you want your jollof rice to have that smokey taste of party jollof rice, then at the stage when the liquid is almost all gone and the rice is still slightly soggy, crank up the heat in order to let the bottom burn and release the smokey flavour into the rice.
You might need to cover the top with aluminium foil first before the pot cover to trap heat, moisture and smoke. Take off the heat and allow to dry out for 5-10 minutes, stir and serve.
It can be accompanied by fried plantain and moimoi. You can sprinkle crushed nuts or finely shredded and lightly toasted coconut on top.
You can serve it topped with a little Nigerian tomato stew. The options are endless.
Do you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.
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