Jollof rice is a classic and warming West African dish that’s bursting with flavour. Growing up, my family looked forward to eating Jollof every Sunday, where it would be served with delectable side dishes such as fried plantain, coleslaw and moin moin. I would venture to say that it is near impossible to attend any Nigerian party or special occasion without seeing jollof rice served as one of the main dishes. “Party jollof rice” is traditionally cooked outdoors on an open flame, with the firewood lending a smoky and aromatic note to the rice. In this contemporary version, the addition of liquid smoke mimics those flavours.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
- 2 cups long-grain rice or “sella” golden basmati rice
- 1/2 tin chopped or plum tomatoes
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1/2 scotch bonnet / chilli pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger
- 4 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 small red onion (sliced)
- 2 and 1/2 cups water
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 tbsp liquid smoke
- salt to taste
1. Rinse the rice a couple of times under cold water and set aside.
2. Place the tinned tomatoes, red bell pepper, chilli, garlic and ginger in a blender and blend until smooth.
3. Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan or cooking pot. Add the onions and sauté on medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the blended pepper and tomato mixture, along with the washed rice. Cover with 2 and 1/2 cups of water. Add the curry powder, thyme, stock cube, liquid smoke and salt to taste. Stir to combine.
4. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the pot and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
5. Stir the rice gently and take off the heat.
6. Serve with a side of fried plantain, salad, moin moin or stir-fried vegetables.