Jollof rice is a great favorite all over West Africa. The name Jollof rice is derived from the name of the Wolof people. In some places, Jollof rice is known as Benachin, which means “one pot”. This West African dish is consumed throughout the regions of Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Cameroon, Liberia, Coast, Mali, Togo, Sierra Leone, and Ivory. The recipe differs from one region to another but the main ingredients of Jollof rice are rice and tomatoes. Jollof rice is a simple, spicy one-pot dish comprising, at its most basic, rice, tomatoes, tomato paste, chili peppers, onions, pepper, salt and spices such as for as nutmeg, ginger, Scotch bonnet, and cumin. The dish is always color red due to the tomato paste and palm oil. Tomatoes also play a primary role in rice and provide a good amount of vitamins and minerals. Optional ingredients can be added such as vegetables, meats, or fish. Jollof rice is a celebration dish in West Africa so it is often served at parties, ceremonial occasions, and other festive gatherings.
Jollof rice contains carbohydrates and protein. The carbohydrates are primarily from the rice. While protein comes from the chicken, turkey, beef, and eggs which are often served with Jollof rice. For vegetarians, Jollof rice is eaten with salad or coleslaw instead of meat, giving them the vitamins and nutrients from the vegetables. Here’s how you make the West African Jollof Rice:
West African Jollof Rice Recipe
- 2 cups rice (long grained or medium variety)
- 1⁄4 cup groundnut oil or 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 1⁄2 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme if using fresh 2 tbsp would be perfect
- 1⁄4 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 celery, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced (remove the seeds & white stuff)
- 2 -3 garlic cloves (as per taste)
- 1 cup chicken breast, diced not cooked preferably, omit if vegan
- 1⁄2 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon ground paprika (smoked would be ideal)
- 2 tablespoons cayenne, add more if you want it hotter
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped finely (or 1 small can pureed tomatoes)
- 1 carrot, cubed
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 1⁄2 cup portobello mushroom (optional)
- peas (You can use frozen mixed veggies)
- 1⁄4 cup cilantro (to garnish) or 1⁄4 cup parsley (to garnish)
- Add oil and butter in a heat resistance pot, then add the chicken breast, paprika, cayenne, onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, and ginger. Saute for about 3 minutes.
- Add the chopped carrots next and saute for a minute with a little salt.
- Add the tomato paste, tomatoes along with curry powder, bay leaf & thyme. Cook until tomatoes get slightly soft. For about 3 minutes until you see the oil getting red. Then add frozen veggies. Add the rice next. Saute for another 2 minutes or so.
- Add 3 cups of vegetable stock/water, bouillon cube, required salt, close the lid and cook until 90% cooked, for about 30 minutes.
- Allow the rice to continue cooking until the rice is soft. If it is not dry at this point, then switch the heat to low to allow it to dry the excess water without making the rice much softer.
- If rice is still little hard, add 1/4 cup water and cover with foil, which will allow it to steam through. Check back at 5 min and It should be ready. You want your rice not too soft.
- Garnish with cilantro/parsley and serve. (Recipe by Genius Kitchen)