Jollof Rice

So we decided that we would showcase “Jollof Rice” for Tasty Tuesday. As we were doing the research we were surprised at how many different countries actually make Jollof rice. Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, The Gambia, Benin, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia, Togo and to some extent, some of the Caribbean nations as well.

DEFINITION OF JOLLOF
Noun. Verb.
of a red, spiced rice dish loved in every city and town ‘South of the Sahara’ and along the coast of West Africa.

Synonyms: Djolof, Benachim (Gambia); Thiéboudienne (Senegal)
to cook in a red, tomato-based sauce: ‘Jollof beans’ – a one pot dish of beans cooked in a rich tomato sauce.

West African-speak.
denoting a state of enjoyment: ‘see her, she’s jollofing’ (she’s enjoying herself and I’m not!). Nigerian-speak. Synonyms: enjoyment, pleasure

What we want to know is who makes the best Jollof Rice?

A lot of factors play in how the Jollof rice is cooked. For example, those rice growing countries may use better grain rice for their recipes. On the other hand, the influence of Western cuisine has also influenced the taste of Jollof rice in some countries.

Here is a recipe from the country who brought the original Jollof rice to the African kitchen.

5 tomatoes, chopped
3 red capsicums, chopped
6 small red chillies
100 ml red palm-fruit oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
handful of efiri (fresh African mint) (optional)
pinch of salt
Fish and rice

1 kg firm fish fillets such as marlin, cut into large cubes
25 g chilli flakes mixed with 1 teaspoon salt
2½ tbsp red palm fruit oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped
1 green capsicum, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 zucchini (or 2 celery stalks with leaves), chopped
pinch of salt
250 ml water
2 cups parboiled long-grain rice
Cook’s notes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

To make the obe ata, use a hand-held blender to process the chopped tomato in a bowl. Blend the capsicum and chilli in a separate bowl.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion, shallots, spring onion, celery, African mint and salt and sauté, stirring well, until the onions are translucent. Add the tomato and the capsicum and chilli and cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes.

To make the fish and rice, sprinkle the fish cubes with the chilli flakes and salt and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the carrot, capsicum, tomato and zucchini (or celery) and salt. Cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes until softened a little. Add the fish, water and rice and the obe ata sauce. Gently mix together and bring to the boil. Cover the saucepan and simmer for approximately 45 minutes, until the rice and vegetables are cooked.

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