Jollof Rice, sometimes called jellof, is a classic West African cuisine that you can find in Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. It is a dish made with rice, tomatoes, onions, tomato paste, and scotch bonnet peppers (popularly known as ata rodo). Almost everyone knows how to make Jollof Rice.
You can’t possibly call yourself a Nigerian if you’ve never had a taste of this mouthwatering dish at a party, wedding ceremony, and even at a burial (it’s a common joke here in Nigeria that Jollof Rice tastes even better when served during burials). Its popularity has grown over the years, even in Western countries.
Recently, there has been a lot of debate between Nigerians and Ghanaians on social media on whose version of Jollof Rice tastes better (don’t mind them; Nigerian Jollof rice reigns supreme). While there are various versions of this rich dish, however, this article will be talking about the Nigerian version. Here’s all you need to know on how to make Jollof Rice for yourself, for your family, or your friends.
How to Make Jollof Rice: The Ingredients You Need
Below are the ingredients required to make your Jollof Rice:
- 2 cups of parboiled rice.
- ¼ cup of vegetable oil.
- ¼ cup of tomato paste.
- 1 medium-sized onion, chopped and placed in a separate bowl.
- 5-6 medium-sized Roma tomatoes, chopped roughly.
- 2 scotch bonnet peppers (ata rodo).
- 1 red ball pepper (known as tatashe in Nigeria).
- 2 cups of chicken stock.
- 1 Knorr stock cube.
- 1 tablespoon of salt to taste.
- 3-4 bay leaves.
- ½ teaspoon of thyme.
- ½ teaspoon of curry powder.
- 1 teaspoon of your Jollof spice.
Instructions on How to Make Jollof Rice
Learning how to make Jollof Rice is as easy as possible. The great thing is that you can always get better at making this tasty Nigerian cuisine.
1. First, blend your chopped Roma tomatoes, scotch bonnet peppers, and red bell pepper for about a minute and set it aside. However, ensure that you have a smooth paste after blending.
2. Get a medium-sized pot, pour your vegetable oil, and heat with medium-high heat. When your oil is heated considerably, add your roughly chopped onions and allow to fry till they turn golden brown.
3. Next, add your tomato paste and fry with your onions for about two minutes. Pour your blended tomato and pepper mixture (keep about ¼ of the blended mixture aside). Fry your blended mixture, tomato paste, and onions for about 20 minutes while stirring consistently to make sure it doesn’t burn.
4. After frying, reduce the heat to medium and pour your chicken stock into the mixture. Then add your seasonings (thyme, curry powder, salt, Knorr stock cube, and your Jollof spice). Then leave it on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
5. Next, add your parboiled rice to the pot and mix it properly with your tomato mixture (using parboiled rice ensures that your rice doesn’t come out mushy or sticky). Afterward, you can add some water to make sure that the rice is on the same level as your tomato mixture.
6. Then add your bay leaves to the pot and cover and let it cook on medium-low heat for 15-30 minutes.
7. When you notice that the liquid has almost dried up, add the remaining blended mixture that you kept aside (this prevents your rice from burning and it gives it that unique red color). Cover the pot and let it cook for 5-10 minutes until the liquid dries up completely.
8. Finally, turn off the gas, mix your rice properly, and your food is ready.
The flavor pairing of Jollof Rice largely depends on each individual. Some may decide to add ginger and garlic to their Jollof while others may not. Also, you can always add more spices and seasoning to your rice if you feel it’s not enough.
Here’s a rule when making this African dish: it should never be served alone. Pair your Jollof with some fried plantain, moimoi, or peppered meat. Now that you know how to make jollof rice, I’m pretty confident you’ll get it right this time. Preparing this meal can be a sure way to win a Nigerian man’s heart.