Brian loves food and enjoys exploring various cuisines. He is a keen experimenter in the kitchen and finds cooking therapeutic.
Jollof Rice: Nigeria's National Dish
Known as Nigeria's national dish, jollof is a fragrant and spicy tomato-based rice dish that never fails to surprise the palate and rev up the appetite. Ask any Nigerian you meet, and they will tell you that they absolutely love this dish and know how to cook it, of course. The dish is eaten in all households throughout the country, and it is a must-have at any and all important events and get-togethers, including weddings, graduation parties, naming ceremonies, etc.
Jollof is popular across West Africa, although each country has its own distinctive version. Many would say that the Nigerian version is the best, but of course, not everyone would agree. Either way, be warned that the Nigerian recipe is extremely delicious and can be highly addictive!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1/2 tablespoon Jamaican curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crayfish
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 Maggi beef bouillon cubes
- 2 medium plum tomatoes, cored and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, cored and roughly chopped
- 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 habanero, stemmed
- 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- In a blender, add the ginger, Jamaican curry powder, dried crayfish, garlic cloves, beef bouillon cubes, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, habanero, and tomato purée. Blend until you get a smooth purée without any lumps.
- In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add the thinly sliced onion to the saucepan and sautée.
- Pour the purée from the blender into the saucepan and bring it to simmer. Add the bay leaf and dry thyme. Allow the purée to slowly simmer in the pan and cook until most of the liquid is reduced (about 20 minutes).
- Once the purée has thickened, add the rice and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the rice to absorb the purée.
- Add 4 cups of water, raise the heat, and bring to the boil. When it starts boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer. Cover the pan and allow the rice to cook thoroughly until all of the water has been absorbed and the rice is fully cooked (about 20 to 25 minutes).
- Turn off the stove and remove the pan from the heat. Open the lid and fluff the rice with a spoon or fork.
- Serve while it's steaming hot. Enjoy!
If you are looking to take this amazing dish up a notch, you can pair it with a protein like fried chicken or fish. I hope you enjoy this recipe and love the taste of this fantastic dish—so simple and yet satisfying.
Interesting Facts About Jollof
- Nigerians and Ghanaians each claim that this dish originated in their country. However, historians have traced the true origin of this dish to the Wolof Empire in the Senegambian region.
- The name jollof was derived from the Djolof/Jolof tribe in the Senegambian region. Legend has it that the recipe was created by chance during a period of barley shortage by a woman who lived near the Senegal River delta. The woman combined rice with fish, vegetables, and tomatoes to create a meal known as jollof, meaning one-pot meal.
- In addition to Nigeria and Ghana, many other West African nations consider jollof to be an important staple food within their own countries, as well. Some of these countries include Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameroon, Mali, and Togo.
- Originally, this was almost exclusively a fish-based recipe. Today, there are other versions, too; one popular version features chicken.
- This dish is typically served as part of the evening meal, not breakfast or lunch.
- African jollof may have been the inspiration for the New Orleans jambalaya of the American South.
- Jollof has a dance associated with it. (How many foods do you know that have a dance that goes with it? I'm going to guess not very many!)
Brian (author) on August 05, 2019:
That's great! I believe you will enjoy the Jollof rice very much. For the chilli, I find that Jamaican curry powder gives the extra kick and flavour to the Jollof rice. You may however substitute it with any other chilli blend. Since, you grow your chilli and make your own blend at home, that would be a fantastic option to use to make this dish.
The Jollof rice is traditionally served with chicken, but so far, I loved the combination of Jollof rice with fish as well. I have not tried it with shrimp and pork, but I believe it would be an interesting and equally delicious combo.
Thanks for the suggestion, KonaGirl!
KonaGirl from New York on August 04, 2019:
I love rice! This recipe sounds absolutely delicious and I can hardly wait to try it! I am wondering the difference between Jamaican curry powder and any other. Often I make my own blend, depending on the dish. I also grow, dry, and grind my own chilis so if it is a matter of a certain type of chili, I could make my own.
I know you suggested chicken or fish as the go-with protein, but it sounds like a pork or shrimp dish would also be awesome. If you have another protein recipe that is a good accompaniment to this rice dish, please share and let us know if you do.
Until then, I have pinned it to https://www.pinterest.com/konagirl/rice-is-my-soul...
Brian (author) on July 19, 2019:
Your welcome Liz
Liz Westwood from UK on July 08, 2019:
Thank you. That is very helpful advice.
Brian (author) on July 08, 2019:
Yes, Liz Westwood. It is indeed a delicious and tasty dish!
You may substitute the Jamaican curry powder with basically any standard curry powder blend. Alternatively, you can also use Madras curry powder, but it may have a slight extra tinge of spiciness to it. You may use a 1:1 substitute ratio for your cooking.
The curry powder is actually used to add a spicy kick to the Jollof rice. If you want a non-spicy version, you can make do without.
Hope this helps, Liz Westwood.
Liz Westwood from UK on July 07, 2019:
This looks like a tasty dish. Can I substitute any curry powder for the Jamaican curry powder?