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Nigerian Jollof Rice

"No Nigerian party is complete without Jollof rice. In fact, there is a popular meme that says no party or meeting is complete without Jollof rice."


 ...Probably the most controversial dish in the whole of Africa. Jollof Rice originates from Senegal and Gambia. However, many western African regions have adopted Jollof Rice, modifying the recipe - adding their own unique spin.

This has led to a rivalry known as the "Jollof Wars" - Nigeria and Ghana, in particular, have taken the rivalry to new heights.

I am not going to give my opinion on which Jollof is better, however, I will share the recipe for Nigerian Jollof Rice (which I am most familiar with).


  • 6 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • 2 Large red bell peppers roughly chopped
  • 400 g canned tomato plum
  • 2-3 scotch bonnet pepper use according to preference
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 cups Beef/chicken/vegetable (stock optional as you can also use water)
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs (optional)
  • 5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp Chicken Seasoning
  • 3 tbsp butter (optional)
  • 2 tomatoes and 1 small onion sliced for garnish
  • Salt to taste (optional)


SERVES: 8 - 10


  1. Roughly chop the onion, red bell pepper, scotch bonnet chilli, slice the tomatoes in quarters. Add the chopped peppers to a blender and puree. Pour the pureed pepper mix in a saucepan.
    My blended pepper mix yielded about 4 cups before boiling
    On medium heat, boil the pepper mix until reduced to half its original size
  2. Wash rice and set aside
  3. Place a larger and studier saucepan enough to cook the rice on medium heat. Add the vegetable and heat until hot, then add chopped onions and fry until translucent (like 2 minutes)
  4. Add boiled pepper mix, curry powder, dried thyme, mixed herbs, seasoning powder and mix to combine. Cook further until oil floats on top the sauce. (Keep an eye on it and stir in between to avoid burning)
  5. Add chicken/beef/vegetable stock if using and if not add water about 4 cups, add bay leaves and continue cooking till oil floats (stir in between so that the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Also check for salt and seasoning especially if you are using stock)
  6. Add washed rice into the sauce and stir till well combined. (Your water/stock level should be about the same level as the rice)
    Reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes (check for salt, water and seasoning) add 100 ml of water at a time if need be then stir to combine.
  7. Cover rice with a foil sheet or parchment paper and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Add sliced onions, tomatoes and butter if using and stir to combine. Check that the rice is not still hard, if it is add about another half cup of water making sure it is well distributed over the rice. stir to combine, cover the rice with foil/parchment paper and the pan lid and leave the rice to simmer away until tender. Turn off the heat, stir the rice and serve with sides of choice
    The foil/parchment paper helps lock in the flavour and the steam which softens the rice. It reduces the excess addition of water to the rice



When stirring the rice, do so gently in other not no stir in the bottom bits that may be burnt. 

Check on the rice every 10 minutes and stir to combine. Make sure the heat is well distributed so that the rice can cook evenly. 

It is ok if your rice burns at the bottom of the pan a little… that’s the smoky jollof rice aroma you achieve without firewood. Leave the rice to rest for about 5 minutes before opening the lid. 


My Active Kitchen, November 1, 2019


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