Happy Black History Month, y’all! To kick things off, I’m sharing a recipe that’s dear to my heart and the pride of my father’s home country. There’s been a lot of buzz lately over which West African nation produces the best jollof rice. This has been quite a shock to me since I was born and raised on the best kind: Nigerian jollof rice! Now, despite our jollof being collectively superior, each person makes theirs a bit differently. However, my Aunty Toyin makes the best jollof (and Nigerian food, in general) that I’ve ever tasted and coached me through my first-ever pot a few years back.
I know that this isn’t necessarily how every Nigerian makes their jollof but it’s what I grew up on. Like many good dishes, this recipe wasn’t previously written down anywhere and the measurements are approximations. Feel free to modify this as you see fit. For example, our family likes a lot of spiciness and my Aunty would add more scotch bonnet peppers if she were making a pot for herself but we didn’t want to burn anybody’s tongues off so we settled on four for this recipe. I would love to hear how you make yours (please be respectful) in the comments section below.
There’s a lot to look forward to this Black History Month, not the least of which is the Black Panther premiere in just a couple of weeks! I’ve already got my tickets (kicking back with my friends at iPic) and hope you do, too. 🙂 Another highlight is the second rendition of the Black History Month Virtual Potluck. Last year, I shared my Aunt Georgia’s peach cobbler recipe, which is from my mom’s side of the family, for the potluck and this year I’m contributing my Aunty’s Nigerian jollof rice recipe, which comes from my dad’s side.
What is Jollof Rice?
Jollof rice actually calls for many of the same ingredients as the rice and stew recipe I shared last spring. It’s simple but so very good! The rice is cooked in the base for the stew plus a few other ingredients. As for the rest of our virtual potluck menu, the contributions span the African diaspora, with soul food classics, Caribbean staples, Latin fare, Creole creations, and more African-style dishes. The full menu is down below just after the jollof recipe. You can also see regular recipe contributions from top black food bloggers on Facebook at We Love Black Food Bloggers.
Much of the feedback I receive requests more Naija recipes, so I’m working on incorporating it more often. I pretty much only make the basics and enjoy the fruits of Aunty Toyin’s cooking. 🙂 In the meantime, check out my dodo (fried plantain) recipe. Thanks for reading!
This classic one-pot West African staple is comprised of rice flavored with tomato, peppers, onion, spices, and chicken and beef stocks
- 7 roma tomatoes cut into chunks
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into chunks
- 1/2 white onion cut into chunks
- 4 habanero or scotch bonnet peppers or more depending on your preference
- 1/2 cup water
- 8 cups parboiled rice
- 3 cups chicken and or beef stock
- 4 cubes chicken and/or beef buillon optional
- 4-6 ounces tomato paste
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1/4-1/3 cup oil
- 2 teaspoons white pepper
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon powdered bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon powdered thyme
- sea salt to taste
Add tomatoes, onion, red bell pepper, and habanero peppers to a blender with 1/2 cup of water then blend until completely liquified and uniform (about 2 minutes).
Meanwhile, rinse the rice in plenty of warm water then drain.
Add rice to a pot then pour in oil, tomato mixture, tomato paste, spices, bouillon and stock. Cook over medium flame for about 40 minutes or until rice is cooked through and all liquid has dissipated, stir (to help prevent sticking and burning) and taste-test the liquid and rice periodically.
It may be necessary to add more liquid along the way to prevent the rice at the bottom from burning. The bottom layer of a pot of jollof rice often burns and some believe that the rice tastes best when this happens. As you stir the rice and expose any burnt portions, you can simply discard them.
- Spice measurements are to taste, which is why tasting as you go is so important.
- Jollof rice burns quickly so it is best to use a non-stick pot and cook over medium heat.
- As the rice cooks and liquid dissipates, you may find it necessary to add additional ingredients according to your preference:
- more oil for moisture
- more stock or bouillon for flavor
- more tomato paste or sauce for color
- Sea salt to your taste