December 8, 2022

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Cooking Is My World

Nigerian Jollof Rice Recipe

Why It Is effective

  • The tomato blend is cooked 2 times, first to soften the edge of the raw, tart greens, and then once again with seasoning to further build the flavorful stew foundation that defines jollof.
  • Utilizing the right variety of rice is important. In this circumstance, parboiled rice is a good choice, as it has the capacity to take up the flavourful, effectively-seasoned stew without having turning to mush. 
  • Cooking on very low warmth will allow the rice to take up the sauce effectively, cook dinner evenly, and not melt away on the base stirring minimally ensures evenly cooked rice when retaining the grains separate.

Cooking jollof rice, a seasoned, tomatoey rice dish, is a ceremony of passage for numerous West Africans. For lots of several years, my personal jollof video game was shaky for the reason that I experienced baffled its ubiquity with easiness. I had assumed it was uncomplicated to make simply just due to the fact I had eaten it normally, at each and every party, Sunday lunch, and everything in among, and so failed to enjoy how crucial specified recipe techniques ended up. I would rush via building the stew base with no developing enough flavor, pick out the mistaken kind of rice, and be undisciplined about my cooking process. Some days I’d close up with a excellent pot and other times, not. I’ve realized a great deal due to the fact then, and now make continuously delightful pots. My most significant tip: Sluggish-cooking the rice is a person of the principal keys to results.

Considering a excellent pot of jollof rice required tiny skill wasn’t the only incorrect assumption I designed. I also assumed that it was Nigerian in origin, given that I grew up there and it was a mainstay of the table. But in 2009, when my desire in cooking regularly better pots of jollof deepened, I commenced investigating West African food items and how they traveled the entire world. It was then that I acquired about the roots of this dish in the kingdom of Jolof, a historic 15th- to 18th-century point out in the Wolof-Senegambian location, on the southern edge of the Sahara significantly to the west of Nigeria. 

Serious Eats / Maureen Celestine


So how did jollof uncover its way throughout the sub-Saharan coast? According to James McCann in Stirring the Pot: A Historical past of African Cuisine, the Dyula ethnic team, famed retailers who established trade routes during the region centuries back, have been dependable for the dispersal of jollof south of the Sahara, getting it with them as they traveled. Nowadays, each individual region in West Africa has a edition of jollof, just about every reflecting its individual record and influences. Various locations outside of the African continent also have variations that discuss to how significantly it has distribute, particularly through the transatlantic slave trade—Lowcountry red rice and New Orleans jambalaya in the American South are each descended from jollof rice. 

Jollof can choose several distinct names dependent on the region. In its birthplace of Senegal, it retains its Wolof names of thiéboudienne or ceebu jen, and in neighboring Gambia it goes by benachin. The men and women of Mali call it zaame or nsamé. In the rest of French-speaking West Africa—Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, and Togo—it’s referred to as riz au gras (“riz gras” for short). In English-talking Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, and Nigeria, it is known as jollof. 

There are also unlimited shadings of change from 1 variation to the upcoming. Whilst Senegalese and Ghanaians go for varieties of fragrant Jasmine rice, Nigerians prefer parboiled or transformed types, these kinds of as Golden Sella basmati rice, which cooks extra swiftly and is less vulnerable to mushiness and clumping. In Nigeria, Caribbean-type curry powder, dried thyme, bay leaf, ginger, and garlic are frequent seasoning components. Contrast that with the well known Senegalese seasoning of rof, a clean parsley paste mixed with other aromatics and applied in mix with fermented seafood. A Guinean pal of mine, in the meantime, provides fresh tamarind to her stew foundation.

Total vegetables like carrots, eggplant, cabbage, okra, white sweet potatoes, and potatoes characteristic in thiéboudienne and other versions from French-speaking West Africa, but not in the Nigerian and Ghanaian versions. 

Really serious Eats / Maureen Celestine


There are a amount of particulars that get the job done collectively to provide stellar jollof rice, which I would define as rice which is stewed and seasoned to perfection, with an orange-pink colour and independent grains that are neither difficult nor mush jollof should really not be creamy like risotto. To reduce this result, I stir only at times to aid the absorption of the sauce without having creating the creamy starchiness that major stirring (a la risotto) generates. I also cook it on lower heat for the the greater part of the time. When the warmth is much too higher, the pot of rice will cook unevenly and be at threat of burning at the base.  

Some browning on the bottom layer of rice is fascinating, having said that. Jollof rice is ordinarily cooked on the stovetop or about firewood. Overseas, in the diaspora, many West Africans have explored and mastered oven-baked solutions, though other people have created use of rice cookers and InstantPots to arrive up with even more methods. Whilst the outcomes are equivalent, stovetop and firewood variations are the best route to “social gathering” jollof, a edition that is outlined by its smoky flavor and existence of “base pot,” the crispy, toasty layer of rice that forms on (as the identify tends to make very clear) the base of the pot, akin to Spanish socarrat. The immediate warmth from underneath is just what is actually required to produce that caramelized, roasty underlayer.

Jollof rice is not thought of a aspect, but the main dish. It is usually paired with beef, chicken, goat, and fish (fried, grilled, or stewed), or eggs (boiled, fried, or scrambled). In Nigeria, it is served with a salad that resembles an amped-up edition of coleslaw. It may also be accompanied by moinmoin, a steamed dish designed with skinned, pureed black-eyed beans wrapped in the moinmoin leaves that give it its name, or dodo—fried, ripe plantains. At least one particular or much more of these accompaniments is deemed typical.