Hello readers, hope you are having a great weekend. I spent last weekend learning how to cook jollof rice, plantain and roast pork. So what’s Jollof rice, I hear you whisper. Well it’s rice in a tomato base spiced stew that originates from the western part of Africa. It’s probably the most famous west African dish around and as such you find it at all west African parties, normally paired with fried plantains and a pyramid of delicious assorted meats ( Assorted is a Nigerians way of saying we have no idea what this meat is or where it came from, but by God it tastes good ). It’s also one of the dishes that got my cousin and 2 of his mates into cooking, a desire which culminated into a lovely cookbook titled the ground nut filled with East and West African dishes. It’s a really good introduction into African cooking, so check it out.
There are loads of recipes out there, however I think the Nigerian recipes probably the best. There’s a bit of competition between Nigerians and Ghanaians when it comes to who has the best Jollof rice. I think this picture sums it up perfectly. One has tomatoes…and the other lacks taste…just joking. As it turns out the Ghanaian version isn’t too bad actually. Too all my Ghanaian friends out there, i love Ghanaian parties..I really didn’t mean what I said earlier about Ghanaian Jollof.. Keep sending the invites. ..cough.
Ok, so what do we need for our Jollof rice.
3.5 cups of Basmati rice
3 bell Red peppers&in dp;
1.5 scotch bonnet … Maybe 1 actually as 1.5 might make your face melt off.
2 small onions
1 Can of plum tomatoes
100 ml of tomato purree
1 Tablespoon of thyme
1 Tablespoon of curry
Assorted ( yes it’s that word again) beef or chicken stock. I normally use stock pots
3 knorr chicken stock cubes
2 bay leaves
Little glass of water
And finally some aluminium foil ( very important) and a good sized medium pot.
1) Place the Bell red peppers, scotch bonnet, 1 onion and plum tomatoes in a blender. Make sure you blend for at least a minute.
2. Pour 100ml of vegetable oil into a non stick pot , add a diced small onion, 3 chicken stock cubes, thyme and curry. Fry for about 2 minutes at least ( don’t burn the onions guys…trust me I know this). I used some of the thyme I was growing in my flower bed ( I’m new to this gardening stuff). By the way, when I mean stock cube, I mean the below.
3) Pour your blend into the pot and add a cup of beef or chicken stock. Mix well and add 2 bay leaves ( optional ) and tomato purée for that redness. Mix very thoroughly once again. Cook covered for 15-20 mins on medium heat
4) whilst your making the stew , wash and rinse your basmati rice at least 6 times as you need to get rid of all that starch. Check on your stew at the 20 minutes mark, add a teaspoon of salt ( to taste ) mix and then add the rinsed rice.
5) Cover with aluminium foil to retain heat and place the pot cover on top. You don’t want the rice to get burnt so make sure you cook it on very low heat. Check on it on about the 25 minutes mark. If it’s getting slightly burnt, don’t worry…adds to the taste. You musnt mix the rice at this point. Taste some to see if it’s soft enough ( usually not ready at this point), make a wedge all around the inner walls of the pot and add just a tiny bit of water at the sides all round the pot.Also make a small well in the middle of the rice and add a bit of water. Once again, when I mean a tiny bit of water..I mean very little. Cover the Jollof rice with the aluminium and pot cover. Leave for another 25 minutes. Switch off the stove and place on an empty stove. Mix the rice and leave covered till you need to eat it.
6) Dice some plantains diagonally, fry them in oil for a bit and place in an oven till it has a golden brown colour. Personally, I think it’s better when it’s fully fried in oil.
7 ) Marinade the pork chops in Yoshida’s soya and barbecue based sauce for at least a few hours or preferably overnight, add some mixed herb spices and black pepper prior to placing in an over for 25 minutes.
Dinner is served. Hope you enjoyed the write up. I am sure some of you have your ways of preparing Jollof rice. If you have any tips, please comment away
Ps.. I mentioned earlier that there were different Jollof rice recipes out there. Note of advice..avoid the Jamie Oliver recipe. It caused chaos a few years ago. I am off to look for breakfast now. I get hungry writing these blogs. Have a lovely weekend and see you soon.