Rice is an edible starchy cereal grain and from the grass plant family – Poaceae. About one-half of the world population, including virtually all of East and Southeast Asia, is totally dependent on rice as a staple food; 95 percent of the world’s rice crop is eaten by humans.
Jollof rice, or jollof, also known as benachin in Wolof (one-pot), is a staple in most households and popular in many West African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, The Gambia, Senegal, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Togo, and Mali. It is also referred to as ‘reddish one-pot dish’ and the method of preparation varies in these countries.
Jollof rice consists of rice, cooking oil, vegetables, and flavored with tomatoes, onion, pepper, garlic, ginger, and lots of seasonings! It definitely was a staple in my house growing up and at parties, where you can rest assured that there will be pans and pans of it. As for seasoning spices, salt, seasoning/stock cubes (a blend of flavor enhancers, salt, nutmeg, and herbs), curry powder, and dried thyme are used to prepare jollof rice.
To complement the dish, red and white meats (I.e. chicken, turkey, beef), and fish are often served with the dish. Jollof is primarily carbohydrates, as it is a rice dish. Since jollof rice is often served with chicken, beef, and/or turkey, it is complemented by the protein from those accompanying dishes. Fish is sometimes used as an accompaniment and can provide the dish with omega-3 fatty acids, as well as protein.
Ingredients for Jollof Rice
- 3¾ cups (750g) long-grain parboiled rice
- 2-3 cups Tomato Mix
- Chicken (whole chicken, drumsticks or chicken breast)
- Pepper and salt (to taste)
- 2 medium onions
- 3 Knorr cubes
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
Before you cook Jollof Rice
Prepare the tomato mix. It is advisable to prepare tomato mix beforehand and keep in the freezer. This is so that whenever you want to cook any jollof rice related dish, it will just be a matter of adding it to your cooking. Blend your tomato, pepper, onion, ginger and garlic (optional) and boil till the water content has dried up and you will have your tomato mix.
If you plan on using whole chicken, carefully wash and cut it into pieces. Marinate it with your spices and store away for an hour or more, preferably in the refrigerator then cook with the thyme, seasoning (Knorr cubes), and 2 bulbs of onions (chopped). The cooking time depends on the type of chicken. The rooster or cockerel cooks way faster than the hen (local chicken) but the hen is definitely tastier. When done, grill it in an oven. If you do not have an oven, you can fry it. This is to give it a golden brown look which is more presentable especially if you have guests in for lunch or dinner.
Parboil the rice for 15-20 minutes on medium heat. Rinse the parboiled rice and put it in a sieve to drain.
Cooking Directions for Jollof Rice
- Place a dry empty pot on fire and add a little groundnut oil.
- Chop some onions to any shape you desire, pour into the hot oil and allow to fry till golden brown.
- Pour the chicken stock and the tomato mix into the pot and leave to boil.
- Add the drained parboiled rice, curry powder, salt and seasoning to taste. The water level should be the same level or slightly above that of the rice. This is to ensure that all the water dries up by the time the rice is cooked.
- Cover the pot and leave to cook on low to medium heat. This way the rice does not burn before the water dries up.
If you parboiled the rice before adding to the tomato and meat broth to cook, the rice should be done by the time the water has dried up. However, you should taste to confirm. If not, you will need to add more water and reduce the heat to prevent burning. Keep cooking till done.
Serve with Peppered Fish, Meat, Fried Plantains, Nigerian Moi Moi, Nigerian Salad or Coleslaw.
Please feel free to let us know if this article has helped you know how to cook jollof rice