If there was a hall of fame for Nigerian dishes, Jollof rice would take the trophy.
No celebration/party is complete without it, funerals, weddings, birthdays, name it.
This famous dish has its origin in the Wolof tribe of the modern day Senegal and Gambia but has since evolved into several versions according to different localities.
The most popular being it’s Nigerian and Ghanian versions. These two versions have caused a heated and unsettled debate, Nigerian Twitter has evidence to show. Even artists have dropped diss tracks on the subject and it never seems to end.
If you describe Jollof rice as egalitarian, you will not be wrong because anybody can whip up a pot of jollof regardless of what social strata you belong in the society.
The meal is a coloured spicy rice cooked in tomato broth and served with any protein of choice – Beef, Chicken or fish, alongside fried plantain or sliced bananas.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make a basic pot of Jollof rice
- 2 tablespoons of coconut/vegetable oil/butter
- 6 medium-sized fresh tomatoes/ a 400g tin of tomatoes
- 3 medium sized onions (1sliced thinly, 2 blended)
- ½ or less of fresh chili, to taste
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 stock cube
- 500g long grain rice
- 800ml water or stock (vegetable, chicken or meat)
- Optional – mixed herbs, shrimps (fresh or dried), crayfish, meat chunks etc….
How to Prepare?
- Blend tomatoes, 2 onions and chili pepper, till smooth.
- In a large pan, heat oil and add the sliced onion; stir-fry for 1-2 minutes; add blended tomato mixture, tomato puree, curry, thyme and season with salt.
- Stir on medium heat for 10-12 minutes so the mix cooks and the raw taste of the tomatoes is gone.
- Add water/stock.
- Stir well, season to taste and add rice. Stir again. Cover pan and allow to cook..
- When it boils, add butter, stir again and turn down the heat – letting the rice steam for another 15-20 minutes, or till cooked (depending on how you like your rice).
- If rice is getting too dry, add some more water, stir gently and leave to cook.
- Note that when cooking, the rice may stick to the bottom of the pan…..and even burn.
- Some Nigerians consider this the best part of the meal…..scooping up every burnt grain onto their plates. This sometimes, lends a smoky, bbq-like flavour to the rice, as though it were cooked with firewood.
The recipe above is for a basic jollof meal, you can up the ante by making your Jollof the Bigmama way. Because Bigmama spices are simply delicious, you can rightly say that Bigmama Jollof is Jollof on steroids.
Bigmama seafood Jollof rice
Follow the recipe above till you need to add your rice.
Season the shrimps with Bigmama shrimp flavour and add together with the rice.
Note that you have to cut down the quantity of your regular seasoning to achieve the perfect shrimpy taste.
Bigmama Chicken Jollof rice
While cooking your chicken to get the stock, season generously with Bigmama chicken flavour.
Continue with the rest of the recipe.
Bigmama Fish Jollof rice
While cooking your Fish to get the stock, season generously with Bigmama Fish flavour.
Because Fish is a tender protein, some people don’t boil it before frying or grilling. In this case, marinate with Bigmama fish flavour before frying or grilling.
If you’re still wondering the difference between Nigerian and Ghanian Version of the meal, note that Nigerian jollof uses long grain parboiled rice, which is less starchy.
While for Ghanaian jollof, a Thai or a jasmine rice is used, and this brings out more starch in the meal itself.
An additional distinct characteristic is spice. The spices that are used in Ghanaian jollof are warm spices, [like] clove, nutmeg or cinnamon while Nigerian jollof tends towards aromatic spices like chili, bay leaves, etc.
Whether you’re making your Jollof rice the naija way or the akwaaba way, remember to incorporate the BigMama Spices goodness into it.