Jollof is a whole mood, a cultural phenomenon and the crowning glory of any cook is that they know how to make perfect, tasty jollof rice.
Jollof rice is said to have originated from the Wolof tribe in Senegal. But now, the whole of Africa has different countries creating this mother of all dishes in their own way. This is after all the cause of the unending war between Nigeria and Ghana. A war we all know who has won; hands down (*clears throat*).
We will be sharing with you tips on how to cook a jollof rice that will win all the contests ever organized and provide the solution to world peace 😉
1. Type of Rice:
One of the major things that can ruin your Jollof rice is if it turns out soggy. This is why using the right type of rice is key. Usually any long grain or Basmati would do. Properly wash the rice, drain it well and you’re good.
2. Peppers and Tomatoes:
After the rice, peppers are an important component that make jollof rice what it is. Because Jollof rice that is not red and thick, is that one jollof?
A tip is to make sure the pepper is more than raw tomatoes used. Using more raw tomatoes will water down the colour of your Jollof rice. Tomato purée is the secret to the signature red Jollof colour. Substitute the rest of the needed tomatoes for tomato purée.
A formula you can use: For every 3 cups of Jollof rice, you’ll need 3 Red Bell Peppers, 2 Small Tomatoes and 70g of tomato purée.
The liquid used to cook the jollof rice could either be stock (beef, chicken, pork etc) or just water (along with the right spices). As a rule, start with equal parts of rice and liquid. For example, if you’re making 3 cups of Jollof rice, use about 31/2 cups of stock/water.
4. Steam and Heat:
Jollof rice cooks perfectly with steam. When cooking, allow the sauce to cover the Jollof rice. After it is dried out, stir the Jollof rice together so that the sauce and rice get combined properly, cover the pot with an aluminum foil, then the pot cover. This will allow it to steam till it is done, instead of adding water over and over.
Steaming, and the amount of heat used matters a great deal. Using very low heat will result in soggy rice while high heat will dry up the liquid faster than the rice is able is soften. Balance is key. The temperature should be moderate, that is medium heat.
Onions add a rich, distinct flavour to your jollof rice, so don’t be stingy! Onions add a sweetness to your jollof and are healthy too. The onions should be added every step of the way as you cook. From the stock, to the tomato/pepper blend, the fried sauce used as base for the jollof, to the garnish right after the heat is turned off.
6. Seasonings and Spices:
A colorful and well-cooked jollof rice is nothing if it is not well spiced. Spices to use for jollof rice include; thyme, curry, bay leaves, salt, seasoning cubes, white pepper, black pepper and paprika (for extra measure). Bay leaves are very important to give jollof rive its flavour.
Butter gives jollof rice a rich look and taste, making it silky and oooh! It is the crowning glory for achieving that rich, party jollof rice taste we all love so much. Butter should be added at the end, a few minutes to being fully cooked. It can also be added along with the vegetable oil when frying. However, don’t overload your rice with it so you don’t end up with an oily mess! 1 or 2 tablespoons should do.
With these tips, go forth and make magic!