Introduce a new, flavorful, and succulent African dish by cooking this delicious smokey Jollof Rice recipe! It also pairs well with all the main dishes like beef, turkey, fish, and vegetables!
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This jollof rice recipe is an easy way to turn your West African-inspired recipe into a great experience.
How to Make Nigerian Jollof Rice
You won’t believe how powerful and savory this recipe is. It’ll be your family and friends next favorite food!
This Jollof Rice recipe uses wholesome ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, grains, and chicken, to mention a few.
Chicken is just bursting with flavor and arom. Moreover, it is can help with your heart, bones, energy, digestion, and immunity.
This dish will also be a new take on how you cook it. Once it’s seasoned with the right herbs and spices, it’ll surely be a delicious chicken dish!
You can also cook Chicken Gizzard Stew or Roast Chicken with your rice!
Chicken liquid stock
Once you taste this recipe, you will never even think about throwing liquid chicken stock away. In fact, adding chicken liquid stock improves the Jollof rice.
To make this rice recipe the way I enjoy it most, I opt for basmati rice, long–grains, nutty, aromatic, soft, and fluffy texture.
According to USDA, Basmati Rice has plenty of healthy benefits to offer. It’s good for your stomach, energy, endurance, and physical activity.
Fruits and vegetables
Sweet and Bell peppers
According to MasterClass, sweet peppers and bell peppers have a fruity flavor and smell to the dish. While commonly used for grilling, stir-frying, and roasting, these ingredients also make excellent elements for sauces.
You can add the scotch bonnet to achieve a smokey, hot, and spicy quality. It makes the dish more exciting and even more exciting to the taste.
Tomatoes are some of the most popular ingredients for sauces. Aside from their vibrant color, they also have a sweet and tangy flavor. These also add a juicier quality to the sauce.
Herbs and spice
Of course, don’t forget the magical trio of food: onion, garlic, and ginger. These are perfect combinations of sweet, pungent, and tangy flavors. Herbs can also balance the natural savor of the dish.
This recipe will use curry powder, mixed herbs, cumin, smoked paprika, and other spices that can enrich the overall quality of the dish. You’re free to use your favorite spices too!
This oil variant is great for deep frying and slow-cooking dishes. It can also cook at high temperatures without changing flavor.
Cooking this Nigerian Party Jollof Rice will make you realize that you don’t need fancy ingredients to make the best food. This recipe is easy to follow, and you won’t even notice that you’ve already cooked a masterpiece!
Cooking the best Jollof Rice recipe is easier than you thought. Without further ado, Let’s get started!
Cooking the chicken
- Put the cleaned chicken in the pot without turning on the fire.
- Peel and chop the onion, garlic, and ginger with a knife.
- Then, add the herbs to the chicken.
- Season it with curry powder, mixed herbs, cumin, mace, coriander leaf, ground cardamom, fenugreek, chicken stock, curry leaves, and sea salt.
- Toss the chicken in the seasoning to coat.
- Cook for 25 to 30 minutes on medium fire with occasional mixing.
- Turn off the heat and separate the liquid stock and the boiled chicken.
- Once cooked, set the chicken stock aside for later use.
Frying the chicken
- In a pot, pour sunflower oil and allow to heat over high heat.
- For extra flavor, sautee onions and garlic for a minute.
- Deep fry the chicken along with the herbs to enhance flavors.
- Set aside the oil used to use for cooking the sauce.
Cooking the Jollof rice
Make the pepper sauce
- Rinse and chop the tomatoes, bell peppers, and sweet peppers using a knife.
- Peel and slice the garlic, red onion, and ginger.
- Blend in a blender until smooth.
Cook the sauce
- Sautee chopped onions for 1 minute using the foil from the chicken.
- Add curry powder, mixed herbs, mace, cumin, chicken stock cubes, and smoked paprika. Fry for 3 minutes.
- Then, pour in the blended pepper sauce and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken liquid stock and bay leaves, and stir. Cook further for 15 minutes.
- Season with sea salt. Taste and season as needed. Cooking the sauce is necessary to fortify the flavors of the sauce.
Prepare the rice
- Rinse the rice several times until the water is crystal clear.
- Add the rice into the pot to cook it with the sauce. Submerge the grains for a stronger flavor. Cover it with parchment paper and the lid.
- Then, cook it on low heat for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Add chopped onions for color, aroma, and texture.
- Simmer the Jollof for 5 minutes until the rice is cooked to perfection.
Have you ever cooked so tasty, fragrant, and appetizing? Indeed, this Jollof Rice recipe is the one to beat! It’ll certainly be a meal to remember!
How to Buy, Store, and Prepare Chicken
Selection. The chicken should have pink and plump flesh without tears. The meat should also yield to a bit of pressure. Check the expiration date and the labels for safety.
Storage. According to Taste of Home, chicken must be refrigerated or frozen immediately. It can last up to 2 days at room temperature and up to several weeks in the freezer. Place it on the bottom shelf of the fridge.
Preparation. In an article by Master Class, rinsing or soaking the chicken is unnecessary. Simply pat it dry with kitchen towels. Slice it on a chopping board specifically used for meat.
How to Select and Preserve Vegetables
Selection. Choose bright, glossy red ones on the skin without soft spots or discoloration. The heavier it is, the juicier it will be. Moreover, the stem should also be attached and in a healthy green color.
Storage. Ripe tomatoes can last up to 2 days at room temperature and 2 weeks when refrigerated. Place it in an area away from heat with the stem pointing downward. Arrange them in a single layer in a container.
Bell Peppers and Sweet Peppers
Selection. According to The Produce Moms, bell peppers and sweet peppers should have smooth, shiny, and firm skin. Their stems should also be fresh and green in color.
Storage. Refrigerate the bell peppers in resealable bags to last for up to a week.
How to Store Rice
As suggested by researchers from Utah State University, white rice should be stored in airtight containers for months and even years. Then, keep them in dry and cool areas to last longer.
Making Sauce Without a Blender
If you don’t have a blender, then you can process the sauce using a food processor. On the other hand, you can boil or steam the ingredients and use a fine-mesh sieve to achieve a pureed consistency.
Common Jollof Rice Problems
Remember these practical tips to make the perfect Jollof Rice recipe.
To avoid the rice’s mashy (stew-like) quality, do not cook the rice on high heat. So, stick to low heat as it cooks. Also, pay attention to the amount of the rice to the sauce and liquid.
Jollof rice usually has a vibrant color, and this is because of the tomatoes, sweet peppers, and bell peppers used in making it. Add the right amount of sauce to coat the sauce’s grains fully.
For the grains, it is best to opt for long grains. They will be fluffy in texture once cooked. It may also be undercooked, so if it dries out, add water or sauce as required and continue cooking.
A Short History of Jollof Rice
Jollof rice is the most common rice dish in West Africa. Thus, it’s a staple dish throughout the region – including but not limited to Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, Cameroon, and Mali.
There are diverse regional variations in name and ingredients. Hence, they’re called Nigerian Jollof Rice, Ghanaian Jollof Rice, or Senegal Jollof Rice, respectively, and the list continues.
Jollof rice originated from Senegal. The name “Jollof” was derived from the name of the Jolof (or Wolof kingdom) people of Senegal; as an enthusiastic advocate of African cooking, James C. McCann, a professor of history, depicts in his book, Stirring the Pot, A History of African Cuisine.
To make this Jollof Rice recipe vegan-friendly, you can simply omit the chicken and replace it with mixed vegetables, vegetable soup, and other nutritious dishes. Select rice that is gluten-free as an alternative to white rice.
You may also use other herbs and spices such as parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, pepper, and other spices you prefer. You can also cook turkey, beef, fish, and more!
- Blender: Make the sauce using a blender to achieve a smooth consistency
- Pot: Cook the chicken and the rice in a pot.
- Spatula: Stir the ingredients with a spatula.
- Parchment paper: Cover the rice with parchment paper and lid.
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How to Serve Jollof Rice
Jollof rice is so flavorful, rich, and savory that you can serve it with any dish you want. You can pair it with an egg and relish its goodness! It’s perfect for breakfast to dinner as it can put you in a good mood all day.
It is best served with the following:
Meanwhile, drink options can include any of the drinks below to balance the flavor and refresh your taste buds:
According to Everyday Health, the suggested serving size for rice is ½ cup every day. Imagine the standard size of a cupcake mold, which is how much rice you should have daily.
Storage Tips for Jollof Rice
At room temperature: Consume jollof rice within 4 hours at room temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is so special about jollof rice?
Jollof Rice is special because it is cooked in delicious and savory sauce. It is a traditional meal in African that’s also cooked with vegetables and flavoring agents.
Is jollof rice Nigerian or Jamaican?
Jollof rice has variations in different cuisines and countries, but it is popular in Nigeria and Ghana.
What is the secret ingredient in jollof rice?
You might be surprised that the secret ingredient to jollof rice is smoked paprika! It gives the dish a savory flavor and fragrant aroma for an appetizing meal.
Is this dish healthy?
Yes, it is! The sauce itself is made up of fruits (freshness of tomatoes, bell peppers), herbs, and chicken stock. Likewise, rice can help you manage weight, boost immunity, improve digestion, and supply energy!
Rice is also naturally gluten-free, which makes it an excellent dish for people with celiac disease. Even chicken is a great source of protein to keep your body strong and healthy!
Putting these two together, you will surely enjoy your meal without affecting your health!
Nigerian Smoky Jollof Rice
For the cooked chicken
- 2 kg chicken (soft chicken drumstick & thigh)
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ thumb-sized ginger
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp mixed herbs
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp mace
- ½ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp fenugreek
- 2 cubes stock cubes
- 3 curry leaves
- 1 tsp sea salt
For the fried chicken
- 1 red onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- sunflower oil (enough to deep-fry)
For the pepper sauce
- 5 tomatoes
- 3 bell peppers
- 3 sweet peppers
- ½ fresh ginger
- 1 red onion
- 1 scotch bonnet (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 onion (diced)
For the rice
- ½ cup sunflower oil (chicken flavored ) – (optional)
- 1 onion
- 1½ tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp mixed hertbs
- ½ tsp mace
- ½ tsp cumin
- 4 stock cubes
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika (secret ingredient)
- 5 cup pepper sauce (prepared above)
- 1 cup chicken liquid stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 cups bastmati rice (use any rice of your choice)
- 1½ tsp sea salt
For the chicken
- Season the chicken.Put the cleaned chicken in the pot without turning on the fire. Peel and chop the onion, garlic, and ginger. Incorporate the herbs into the chicken. Add the curry powder, mixed herbs, cumin, mace, coriander leaf, ground cardamom, fenugreek, chicken stock, curry leaves, and sea salt. Toss the chicken in the seasoning to coat.
- Cook the chicken.Set the heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Mix it at regular intervals to cook the chicken thoroughly. Turn off the heat and separate the liquid chicken stock and the boiled chicken. Set the chicken stock aside for later use.
For the fried chicken
- Infuse onion in oil.In a pot, pour sunflower oil and allow to heat over high heat. For extra flavor, saute onions and garlic for a minute.
- Fry the chicken.Deep fry the chicken along with the herbs to enhance flavors. Set aside the oil used in frying the chicken to cook the sauce.
For the jollof rice pepper sauce
- Make the sauce. Rinse and chop the tomatoes, bell peppers, and sweet peppers. Peel and slice the garlic, red onion, and ginger. Blend them together until smooth.
- Fry the herbs and spices. Heat the oil used for frying the chicken. Saute chopped onions for 1 minute. Add curry powder, mixed herbs, mace, cumin, chicken stock cubes, and smoked paprika. Fry for 3 minutes.
- Cook the sauce. Pour in the blended pepper sauce and cook for 10 minutes. Add the chicken liquid stock and bay leaves, and stir. Cook for another 15 minutes. Season with sea salt. Taste and season as needed. Cooking the sauce is necessary to fortify the flavors of the sauce.
For the jollof rice
- Prepare the rice. Rinse the rice several times until the water is clear. Add the rice into the pot to cook it with the sauce.
- Submerge the grains for a more robust flavor. Cover it with parchment paper and the lid.
- Steam-cook the rice.Cook it on low heat for 25 to 30 minutes. Add chopped onions for color, aroma, and texture. Simmer for up to 5 minutes until the rice is cooked to perfection.
- Purchase and store the best ingredients on the market.
- Be creative with the seasoning to customize it to your preferences.
- For an authentic party jollof rice experience, allow the jollof rice to scorch/smoke/burn slightly.