Jollof Rice Recipe

By Channing Whitaker | Staff Writer

Jollof rice, also known as Benachin, contains basmati rice, a variety of grain rice traditionally used in North India and Pakistan. It also includes tomatoes, onion, salt, and red pepper. People also add various meats, other vegetables, and spices. Beyond that, nearly any kind of meat, vegetable, or spice can be added. It is a popular dish in many parts of West Africa including Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Liberia.

The Jollof rice dish originated among members of the Wolof ethnic group in 1982 in the Senegambia region, which is now the country Senegal. The word Jollof means “one pot” in the language of Wolof which is spoken in countries Senegal, the Gambia, and Mauritania.

This characteristically orange dish is stir fried and can be made year round for any special occasion. It can be served with fried plantain, meat, fish, or a crisp green salad. Jollof rice is normally eaten with the family around the table but especially cooked during the winter holidays.

Here is an example of a recipe and steps for making a Jollof rice dish:
• 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into large pieces
• 3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
• 1 large onion, halved and sliced
• 3 tbsp tomato purée
• 400g basmati rice
• 1 red pepper, deseeded and thickly sliced
• 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and thickly sliced
• 100g okra, halved

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large deep frying pan over a high heat then add the meat and fry for about 5 minutes till golden all over. Lift out of the pan onto a plate.
2. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the onions until soft but not golden, about 5 minutes. While the onions cook, make the ginger and chili base. Put the garlic, tomatoes, ginger and chili into a food processor or blender and whizz till smooth.
3. Add the tomato purée to the onion; fry for another 2 minutes then add the ginger and chili mix. Crumble in the stock cube, stir then pour in 600ml boiling water. Add the chicken, bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Put the rice into a large bowl, cover with cold water and use your hands to wash the grains. Tip the water out then repeat twice until the water runs clear. Add the rice to the pan, turn the heat down to a simmer then cover with foil and a lid (so no steam can escape) and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Take the lid off (the rice won’t be cooked yet) then scatter the peppers and okra over the rice. Re-cover and cook for 10 minutes until the vegetable oil is softened and the rice tender. Just before serving, mix the vegetable oil through and scatter over coriander.

Jollof Rice in the process of being stir fried with chicken. PC:
Jollof Rice in the process of being stir fried with chicken.