It is on the eve of New Year as I write this post. It is only about an hour to midnight and the start of
It is on the eve of New Year as I write this post. It is only about an hour to midnight and the start of a brand new year. Well, I hadn’t purposed to spend New Year’s Eve holed up in my boudoir, scratching my head for blog post ideas then figuring out the best words and phrases to use to paint a perfect picture of the ideas. On the contrary, I was to go out with friends, welcome the New Year with dance, pomp, color and laughter. YOLO, right?
The main reason I had to ditch the plans with my friends is this gloomy, chilly December weather, part of the reasons why I wouldn’t be missing December. However, up next come the four months of January a. k. a Njaanuary as we popularly refer to it here in East Africa, then we will all be cursing why December hadn’t stayed for much longer.
See also: Shakshuka/North African Poached Eggs
From a distance, I can hear faithfuls in church singing delectably at the top of their voices, exuberant and full of unrestrained joy. It is clear from their rhythmic chants that they are beaming with jubilation. They decided to welcome the New Year by their maker who to them has been gracious enough to see them through the year. I envy them. They didn’t have to spend this night before their keyboards and screens trying to put together a blog post.
However, it is not just an ordinary blog post. It is the first of many to come to come this New Year and therefore has to come with a bang. They say the very first step is the most crucial one. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you (drum roll) Jollof rice.
Popularity of Jollof rice
Jollof rice is a popular dish in West Africa consumed in the various regions of Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Togo, Liberia, Mali, Ivory Coast and Cameroon. The dish has spread across to the diaspora making it the most popular African food outside the continent. In Cameroon and Nigeria, Jollof is a common menu in ceremonies such as weddings, birthdays, baby showers and graduation ceremonies with some people in Nigeria being reported to attend such ceremonies only for the Jollof, savage, right?
Related: Maryland Fried Chicken
Apparently their also exists a fierce debate, that has been ongoing for years now among Nigerians and Ghanaians as to whose Jollof tastes better. So fierce that contests such as Jollof festival are held in Washington, D, C where different versions of Jollof are prepared and presented to critics from all over the world.
How to make Jollof Rice
Jollof is a one pot dish consisting of rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, palm oil, onions, salt, spices such as nutmeg and peppers. To make healthy Jollof rice, we shall have to swap the palm oil for a healthier cooking oil and add some protein in form of chicken and vegetables. Well, let’s get cooking. Any thoughts on this recipe? Let me know in the comments.
- 4 cups long grain rice
- 7 medium sized tomatoes or 500 gms canned tomatoes
- 7 cups water or broth( vegetable, beef or chicken)
- 3 medium sized onions 1 thinly sliced, 2 roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup coconut oil or other oil
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 red bell peppers
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- Parboil rice in 2 cups of water/broth. The rice will still be hard and partly cooked. Remove from heat, wash, strain and set aside.
- In a blender, combine tomatoes, red bell peppers, chopped onions, 1 cup water and blend till smooth.
- In a large pot, heat oil and stir fry sliced onions till golden brown. Add in curry powder, tomato paste, thyme and ginger and stir fry for two minutes. Add the blended mixture and cook for 10-12 mins for the tomatoes to lose acidity.
- Add two cups of broth/water and the parboiled rice. Stir and cover with aluminium foil to prevent flavor from escaping. Let cook for 15 mins. Stir, adjust seasoning and add 1 cup of water. When cooked, remove from heat and cover till when ready to serve.