Nigerian jollof rice
AfroCaribbean, All Recipes, Nigerian Recipes

Simple Nigerian Jollof Rice Recipe

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Have you wondered why Jollof rice is so popular? Everything you need to know about the One-pot dish and best recipe to make Nigerian Jollof rice.

This post is not just about my simple jollof rice recipe, I have covered everything you need to know about Jollof rice extensively, some of the areas we will cover include:

  • Where Does Jollof Rice Originate From?
  • How to Make Nigerian Jollof Rice – Easy Recipe
  • Jollof Rice War: Nigerian Jollof Vs Ghana Jollof
  • Jamie Oliver and Tesco’s Jollof rice fail

Rice is the most consumed staple in Nigeria and West Africa both at home and at social gatherings. When it comes to hosting guests at a party, the first dish the guest usually asks for is Jollof rice, then Fried rice or a combination of both.

Jollof rice is not only consumed in Nigeria alone, it is popular throughout the West African region in countries like Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, Cameroon, Mali, and Ghana. The popularity of the dish brings about difference in variation, recipes and taste; hence making jollof rice the best-known African dish outside the continent.

Where does Jollof Rice Originate from?

Nigerians and Ghanaians have always engaged in feisty social media battles regarding where Jollof Rice originated from. According to Wikipedia, the nameJollof” is derived from the name of the Wolof people.  The Kingdom of Jolof was a West African rump state located in what is today the nation of Senegal, which thrived between 1549–1875. So arguably, we can say that Jollof rice originated from Senegal.

Moving further to who had Jollof rice first, Nigeria or Ghana? Looking at the geographical origin and the era that the rice meal began to spread across the rest of West Africa region and the available mediums of transportation at the time, it is practical that the dish would have gotten to Ghana before Nigeria. From this, we can also draw a conclusion that Ghana had Jollof rice before Nigeria.

Nigerians are good in almost everything they do, including cooking. There has been a big and unending debate between Nigerian and Ghanaian fanatics regarding who makes the best Jollof rice… This has brought about the Jollof Rice War! For me, all I am concerned about is eating this sumptuous meal anywhere I find it.

How to make Nigerian Jollof Rice

Nigerian jollof rice

Nigerian Jollof Rice is a classic staple prepared as the main meal at Nigerian parties. A Nigerian party is incomplete without Jollof rice on the menu. It is very important to know that there are different ways of cooking the dish; also Party Jollof Rice tastes a bit different from home-cooked Jollof rice.

Nigerian jollof rice ingredients

300grams long grain rice, 70grams Gino tomato paste (small can), 2 Knorr cubes, 1 onion, 2 long red marconi pepper (also called long pointed pepper), 2 vine tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves, 1 medium size scotch bonnet/Jalapeno (or 2 if you want it a bit spicy), 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of rosemary, 4-5 bay leaves, 1 ½ teaspoon of salt, 100mls cooking oil/olive and oil 500-800mls chicken broth.

Preparing Jollof rice ingredients

Pepper mix: Chop 1 medium size onion, 2 long red Marconi pepper, 2 large tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves and 1-2 scotch bonnet into small chunks. Blend till its smooth.

Chicken broth: If you’re making your own chicken broth, add 1 stock cube, pinch of salt, onions (and maybe herbs) and cook for 20mins. Depending on amount chicken you’re cooking, add enough water to be able to get 300-400mls of chicken broth for the jollof rice. I advise making your own chicken broth instead of buying a ready made one. In doing so, you know what ingredients are used. Homemade chicken broth also makes Nigerian jollof rice taste better.

What can you serve with jollof rice?

For Nigerians, it will be a crime to serve plain jollof rice at home or at a party. Jollof rice can be served with fried or roasted chicken/fish, salads, fried plantain and moin moin (Nigerian baked beans). Apart from these sides complimenting the dish, it also makes if a perfect balanced diet.

Simple Nigerian Jollof Rice Recipe

5.0 from 16 votes
Recipe by Oluwaseyi O’shea Course: DinnerCuisine: AfricanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Calories

240

kcal
Total time

1

hour 

Nigerian Jollof rice is made with long grain rice. Other rice variety can be used, but it might not have the same feel and texture.

Ingredients

  • 300 grams Long grain rice

  • 70 grams Gino tomato paste (small can)

  • 2 cubes Knorr cube

  • 2 Long red Marconi pepper

  • 1 medium size Onion

  • 2 large Vine tomatoes

  • 2 Garlic cloves

  • 1-2 Scotch bonnet/Jalapeno

  • 1 teaspoon Thyme

  • 1 teaspoon Curry

  • 1 teaspoon Rosemary

  • 4-5 Bay leaves

  • 100 mls Cooking oil (Olive oil)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt

  • 300-400 mls Chicken broth

  • Water

Directions

  • Cook the pepper mix over medium heat for about 12-15mins or until the water dries out. Stir half way through so it doesn’t get burnt. Set aside.
  • Place a non-stick saucepan on the hob and add 100mls of cooking oil (set hob to medium heat). Add half of chopped onions (medium size) and fry for about 3mins. Add 70g of Gino tomato paste and stir-fry until it’s properly mixed.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of thyme, rosemary, curry, 2 Knorr cubes, 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 4-5 bay leaves and chicken broth (500-700mls) and stir all together.
  • Wash 300g (or 3cups) of uncooked rice in cold water, pour into the pepper mix. Mix gently with a spatula so the rice doesn’t join up. Add more chicken broth or water if it looks thick.
  • Cover saucepan with tin foil, then the pot cover and cook on medium heat for 20mins. Check after 10mins to see if it needs more water/chicken broth. Do not stir!
  • Remove the tin foil after 20mins, check if the rice is well cooked and tasty. If needed, add water, salt or chicken broth accordingly, stir gently and leave to simmer for about 5mins.
  • Serve Jollof rice with fried or roasted chicken/fish, salads, fried plantain or moin moin (Nigerian baked beans).

Notes

  • You can freeze Jollof rice in a lidded plastic bowl for up to a month. The longer you freeze it, the more it loses its taste. To serve, let is defrost fully and microwave for 5 mins. If you plan to eat it within few days, you can store in the coolest part of your fridge and reheat on high heat for 5 mins before eating.
  • PS: Nutrition information is estimated using an online nutrition calculator and based on ingredients used.

Jollof rice recipe across West African countries

West Africans love this meal so much and it’s cooked in different ways across the borders. Jollof rice takes on different forms and flavours across the continent, which makes each country claim to have the best recipe. The only difference in Jollof rice in all these countries is the recipes used, which ends up in giving distinctive but similar taste.

 Did you Know?

Tesco had to take down the wrong Jollof rice Recipe on their Website

Tesco learnt a lesson on why not to mess with Africans when, in 2014, it was forced to take down a recipe for Jollof Rice from its website after a backlash. Published as an accompaniment to the store’s new microwavable jollof packs, the recipe suggested among other things that the dish would take 30 minutes to cook and substituted tomatoes with sweet peppers.

Jamie Oliver’s Jollof rice recipe fails

Eager to try out his own version, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver accidentally unleashed the fury of his West African fans when he posted an experimental recipe for jollof on his website in 2014.

Jamie Oliver's jollof rice
Photo: Jamieolive.com

His sin? Advising readers to add coriander, parsley, and lemon, none of which are traditionally associated with the dish. Nigerians took to Twitter to critique Jamie’s recipe; one Twitter user said,

‘’Jamie Oliver’s jollof rice hurts my soul’’, while another said “Our plates will not be colonized.”

Ozoz Sokoh, owner of the Kitchen Butterfly food blog, empathised with Jamie Oliver but said the dish is so essential to West African culture that “at home and in the diaspora, we will take up arms to defend anything and everything about it – its origin, preparation and by God, how it is served.”

The meltdown eventually led a representative from Oliver’s camp put out a disclaimer, emphasising this was just “Jamie’s twist”.

Other rice recipes

Frequently asked questions about Jollof Rice

What rice is used for Jollof rice?

Classical Jollof rice is made with long grain rice. Other rice variety can be used, but it might not have the same feel and texture.

Which country makes the best Jollof rice?

West African countries have been at war over who makes the best Jollof. Even though the party dish is very popular in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Cameroon, I firmly believe Ghana makes the best Jollof rice after Nigeria.

Why is my jollof rice sticky?

If the starch isn’t washed off the rice properly before adding to your Jollof rice mix, it will likely stick to the pan and become mushy. To fix this, you can remove the cover so the water can evaporate and set your cook on low heat.

How do I preserve Jollof rice after cooking?

You can freeze Jollof rice in a lidded plastic bowl for up to a month. The longer you freeze it, the more it loses its taste. To eat frozen Jollof rice, let is defrost fully and microwave for 5 mins. If you plan to eat it within few days, you can store in the coolest part of your fridge and reheat on high heat for 5 mins before eating.

When is World Jollof rice day?

World Jollof rice day is celebrated on 22nd of August every year. The Jollof rice lovers across the world usually make a big feast centred around the popular One-pot dish.

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