How to cook Jollof Rice

Bayo Ajibola

How to cook Jollof Rice.Rice can be found in almost all parts of the world but not when cooked this way. Party jollof rice is one of Nigeria’s signature meals and anyone who has never tried Nigerian cuisine should try it. You can find it at very many parties or celebrations but its distinct smoky flavour never grows old.

Making this rice is not for the fainthearted. You will need to be very attentive to your pot and what you do to it. There are also a number of small preparations that you need to attend to before you can finally sit down and watch your pot simmer in peace but you will find that all that running around was worth it.

What you need

  • 500 grams parboiled long grain rice
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste (very essential therefore should not be omitted)
  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 scotch bonnets peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 600ml chicken or beef stock
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • Half teaspoon curry
  • Half teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required


How to cook Jollof Rice

  • Ensure that you first parboil the rice and then set it aside. This is done by boiling the rice for a few minutes and then passing it through cold water when ready.
  • Take your meat of choice (chicken/beef/turkey) and grill or fry it. Set aside its broth or stock.
  • You will need to prepare a sauce. Blend the fresh tomatoes together with the peppers and then boil the mixture in a pot for a few minutes so as to dry out the excess liquid.
  • Take a clean pot and place it on the heat. Add some oil and fry the onions then add the tomato sauce you just made and fry that for another 10 minutes or so. Add the tomato paste and cook it until oil begins to rise to the top and the tomato loses its sour taste.
  • When ready, scoop out about a quarter of the tomato mix and set it aside for later use.
  • Add the stock into the pot and let it boil on high heat for 5-10 minutes. Throw in the spices like curry, thyme, stock cubes and some salt. Add in any other seasoning you see fit and let it boil a further five minutes.
  • The stock has to be hot enough before you throw in the precooked rice. This will ensure that it doesn’t soak up liquid and become soggy. This may cause it to start burning before it is properly done.
  • Throw in the rice and mix it thoroughly. Ensure that the rice and liquid are at the same level in the pot so add water or stock if necessary. Throw in the bay leaves, cover the pot and lower the heat to medium or low to allow it to cook without burning.
  • When the liquid in the pot has reduced completely add the tomato sauce you had set aside. Be careful not to touch the rice though so resist the temptation to stir it in.
  • Cover it until all the liquid completely dries up and then mi it thoroughly.
  • To achieve the smoky smell, you may need to break a few kitchen rules. It comes easy if you use firewood to cook but if you don’t, let your rice burn a little at the bottom. Cover the pot so that the smell infuses all through the rice. Now your rice is ready!
  • You can serve with any stew of your choice but any kind of meat stew like chicken, beef, fish or even prawns will go well with it.
    Egusi soup.How to make egusi soup. Efo Elegusi.

Bayo Ajibola

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