My first attempt at Nigerian Jollof Rice
You may be wondering if my family have been here 11.5 months, why am I only now cooking Jollof Rice. It goes like this – my family arrived without any recipes. I Googled Nigerian food and found lots, but none of it was food the children were familiar with: different ethnicities. I kept saying “Get me recipes and I will cook!” We do make Ata sauce and a variant with silver beet.
About a week ago, Mr O Jnr 1 asked, “What is a recipe?”
It had never occurred to me no-one knew what I meant by recipe.
So back to Google. This time I found some recipes everyone went “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH, YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS” at, so I printed them out and surprisingly all I needed to buy for this recipe was bay leaves. I normally have bay leaves for Italian dishes, I was just out of them right now.
The picture to the right is NOT mine, but it looks as if it has prawns in it, which is a variation I could try too.
Nigerian Jollof Rice
1 fryer chicken or 2 1/2 to 3 pounds meat, cut in pieces - I used four large chicken breasts, given there are six of us
1 lime or lemon, cut in half
Salt to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup water
2 tomatoes, peeled
4 red bell peppers
1/2 cup peanut oil – as Mr O is allergic to peanuts, I substituted virgin olive oil
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper (I believe they meant chilli) or 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 1/2 cups rice
6 servings – in my house?? I think not, so I made it 2 cups of rice. The recipe says “Nigerian cooks often allow as much as 1 cup of uncooked rice per person” but I didn’t go that far.
Rub meat or chicken pieces with cut sides of lime or lemon. Season with salt and sprinkle with garlic. Let marinate at least 1 hour. Our probably marinated a little longer as I did a dash to the laundromat to do a bulk drying session of the weekly linen wash. The garlic isn’t minced enough, but I don’t have a mincer – something to rectify!
In a stewing pot, simmer chicken or meat with about 1 cup water until tender. Drain, reserving stock. Good grief – another pot!
Mince 1 tomato, 1 onion, and bell peppers. I prepared these earlier, but it fits with the sequence here!
Heat oil in stewing pot and fry meat or chicken until golden.
Add minced vegetables, tomato sauce, and crushed red pepper or cayenne.
Stir in bay leaves and thyme.
Saute until vegetables are soft.
Add rice and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
Add reserved stock, slowly, stirring constantly.
Cover and cook over low heat until rice is almost soft, stirring occasionally to keep rice from sticking.
Slice remaining onion and tomato.
Add to rice and continue cooking over low heat, well covered, until rice is tender.
It may be necessary to add small amounts of boiling water to keep the rice from sticking.
Mr O was impressed with just the smell! He is not really a chicken fan, so wants it with lamb next time. Mr O is a BIG lamb fan, so I understand that!
Miss O 2 said it didn’t look right and was too spicy. Miss O 1 seemed to think it was alright.
Mr O Jnr 1 gave me 7.5 out of 10 and a “thumbs up” but Mr O Jnr 2 gave me 4 out of 10 for looks and 2 out of 10 for taste, so I am guessing chicken is not the best meat to use for this family. Or he has just gotten too used to roast lamb and gravy with roast vegetables.
Thank you to Stella’s Yoruba Food Page! The photos are mine, not Stella’s: I’d hate to give her a bad rep if it looks bad! Hopefully I’ll get better scores next time.
Pepper Chicken is next week, which will not be Mr O’s favourite either, being chicken again!