'Jollof rice', is a popular West African dish which originated from the Wolof tribe of SeneGambia. Over the years, Ghana and Nigeria have dominated in it's consumption , therefore sparking a healthy debate, to who makes it better (that in itself depicts the different methods of cooking Jollof rice).
Jollof rice, is a one pot dish, with a spiced tomato stew base, which the rice is cooked in (it's most likely to be served at West African's social gatherings or restaurants).
During the famine years (between 1983-84) of Ghana, Jollof was a staple dish in my household, with Mum cooking it with spiced dried meat (biltong) or corned beef.
Mums Jollof had this smoky, perfectly spiced taste which I loved scraping the saucepan with a spoon (much to her disapproval) for the flavoursome crunchy bits (Kanzo).
I prefer my Jollof, at most 10hrs after cooking, as I believe the flavours intensify then. However, one has to refrigerate the rice no more than an hour after cooking (to prevent food poisoning) and steam it till it's piping hot before consumption. Please refrain from re-heating the rice again and consume within 24hrs.
There are countless variations and flavours to this dish. One can change the Jollof's taste by the type of herbs and spices they incorporate, but one can't change the colour and call it Jollof.
Jollof has always caused a stir, with purist holding unto the traditional methods of cooking and the distinctive dark orange colour.
Check out my Buka Jollof (made from the ever popular Nigerian stew 'Buka'.
The basic principle for any Jollof is to have a smoky taste ( which is achieved by the slight burning of the base) and it's deep rich orange colour, which is achieved by adding tomato purée and red peppers (optional).
I love adding red peppers to my Jollof sauce as it lends it's sweetness to the dish.
The Jollof recipe here has a distinctive smoky taste and I used the oils extracted from Chorizo (after baking it) and smoky Paprika.
350g of washed and soaked Basmati rice for 15 minutes (you can also use long grain rice, Jasmine rice or brown rice).
150ml of Chicken stock (your preferred stock).
700g of fresh tomatoes
175g of tomato purée
2 large red peppers
2 large onions (1 sliced and the other chopped).
30g of ginger
1 clove of garlic
1 Habanero chilli
1 diced green chilli
4 tablespoons of groundnut oil / Coconut oil.
2 teaspoonful of smoked Paprika.
5 stalks of grains of selim
15g of fresh thyme (try using Sage, Oregano, Rosemary etc)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Blend the Tomatoes, Red peppers, chilli, Onion, 1 teaspoon of smoked Paprika, Garlic & Ginger together.
Place a heavy bottomed saucepan on a medium heat.
Add the oil and the sliced onion. Fry for 3 minutes (making sure you stir the mix).
Add 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika and fry for a minute.
Add the tomato purée and fry for 3 minutes
Add the diced green chilli and fry for a minute
Add the spiced tomatoes mix and cook the sauce till it thickens to a paste. (This should take about 40-45minutes).
The reason for the slow cooking, is to intensify the natural flavours of the sauce.
Add the thyme leaves and stir.
Wash the rice till the water is clear and soak it for about 15 minutes.
The washing reduces the starch content of the rice. This helps in achieving the perfect, separated and fluffy rice.
The soaking cuts the cooking time in half and helps the rice to absorb the flavours of the sauce.
Add the washed rice to the sauce and stir fry for 5-7 minutes (making sure the rice has absorbed the sauce and it's well coated).
Add your preferred stock and stir. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat, cover with scrunched up baking paper, grease proof paper or foil and finally cover with the lid.
The whole point of this is to trap the steam in the saucepan and allow the rice to cook with little water. This will also intensify the flavour of the rice.
Cook for 20-22 minutes, till fluffy and el dente ( I prefer my rice to have a little bite). This is optional and you can steam it till it's completely soft but not soggy.
Turn the heat off and leave the rice to continue cooking in it's steam for 7-8 minutes.
Serve with your preferred meat, poultry or fish and salad or steamed vegetables.
In this instance I paired my Jollof with grilled Tilapia. Recipe coming up soon on my YouTube page, 'Ndudu by Fafa'.
Enjoy with chilled bottle of beer or a Pineapple & Ginger juice.
All photos and recipes are by the owner of this blog.