West African Spicy Jollof Rice is a popular and flavorful rice dish. It is a staple food in many West African countries, such as Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, and Cameroon. You can find it at every party or wedding. People love to eat Jollof rice on weekends and holidays. It is served as the main meal or side dish. Jollof rice is paired with fried chicken, meat, fish, salad, and fried plantains.
Jollof rice is a one-pot dish known for its vibrant red color and spicy taste. It is made from long-grain parboiled rice, tomatoes, onions, red bell peppers, and hot chili peppers. The scotch bonnet peppers are used in Jollof rice, which makes the Jollof rice more spicy. While the other ingredients like garlic, ginger, thyme, and a blend of spices(such as paprika, curry powder, and bay leaves) give it a distinct flavor.
Jollof rice was first made in the Senegal region and known as thieboudienne. It is made from rice, fish, shellfish, and vegetables. Later it spread to other areas of West Africa. Other countries add new ingredients to the original recipe and make new dishes. Today, every country has its own Jollof rice recipe. And each one claim for the best Jollof rice dish.
The most prominent countries are Nigeria and Ghana, to win the perfect Jollof rice title. This Jollof war is trendy; people make new dishes and try to win the best Jollof rice recipe title. It is a fun competition that brings people together to share love and eat food. Because both countries make the best Jollof rice. And Jollof rice is such a tasty and hearty dish that no one can resist it.
Nigerian Jollof Rice Verses Ghanian Jollof Rice: Which is the Best and Spicy?
Both versions are cooked similarly but differ in taste and flavor. Here are some differences between Nigerian and Ghanaian Jollof rice.
Nigerian Jollof Rice is known for its bold and spicy flavors. It uses a variety of spices and hot peppers, which give its spicy and fiery taste.
Ghanaian Jollof Rice has a mild and slightly sweeter taste with a more prominent tomato flavor.
Nigerians use more chili peppers, cayenne, or other hot spices. While Ghanaians include more onions, ginger, and mild seasonings.
Nigerian Jollof Rice is dark red as they use more tomatoes and tomato paste to make Jollof rice. On the other hand, Ghanaian Jollof Rice has a deep orange or reddish-brown color, which comes from using a moderate amount of tomatoes and tomato paste or puree.
Nigerian Jollof rice is cooked with long-grain parboiled rice, with the main spices ground tomato, tomato paste, stock, curry powder, thyme, white pepper, and bay leaves. But
Ghanaian Jollof is made from perfumed Thai jasmine rice with main spices. This rice offers a different smell and taste to the Ghanaian Jollof.
Nigerians eat Jollof rice with fried plantains and fried or grilled chicken. But Ghanaians love to serve their Jollof rice with Shito and fried fish or meat.
6. Cooking method:
Nigerians love to eat burnt Jollof rice at the bottom pot because it is crispy and flavourful. They cook a little more to burn the rice for crispiness. While Ghanaian Jollof rice is less smoky and is removed from the heat once the rice is cooked.
7. Smokey Flavor:
Nigerian Jollof rice is known for its smokey flavor. It is cooked on low heat, and the pot is covered with foil or a towel to make steam. The rice was cooked in steam until the bottom pot was burnt, which gave a smokey taste. Also, in outdoor events, Nigerian Jollof rice is cooked on firewood which gives a smokey taste. While Ghanian Jollof rice lacks this smokey flavor.
Ingredients You Need to Make West African Spicy Jollof Rice Recipe.
The Nigerian and Ghanaian use simple and wholesome ingredients to make Jollof rice. To make the West African Jollof Rice recipe, you need the following things:
2 cups long-grain parboiled rice
1 large onion, finely chopped
3-4 ripe tomatoes, blended or chopped
1 red bell pepper, blended or chopped
1 green bell pepper, blended or chopped
3-4 scotch bonnet peppers (adjust to your spice preference)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 cup vegetable oil or palm oil (for an authentic touch)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon chili powder or ground cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk
1 pound boneless chicken or beef (optional), cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)
Fried plantains or grilled fish for serving (optional)
Secret Ingredient to Make Perfect the West African Spicy Jollof Rice Recipe
Use Shirley’s Jollof Paste to make your Jollof rice more spicy. Add 2 tablespoons of Shirley’s Jollof Paste into the stew, then add rice. Shirley’s Jollof Paste has the perfect blend of spices that gives your Jollof rice a firey and savory taste.
How to Make the West African Spicy Jollof Rice Recipe?
1. Wash the rice:
Wash the rice thoroughly with cold water. Rinse it until the water runs clear. Soak the rice for about 30 minutes in the water and then drain.
2. Make tomato paste:
Blend the chopped onions, tomatoes, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and scotch bonnet peppers in a blender or food processor until smooth. You can also finely chop the vegetables if you prefer a chunkier texture.
3. Heat the oil:
Heat the vegetable or palm oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven.
4. Make a tomato sauce or stew:
Add the minced garlic, grated ginger, and sauté until fragrant.
Add the blended tomato and pepper mixture along with the tomato paste. Cook the mixture for 10-15 minutes or until the water reduces and the sauce thickens. Stir to avoid the sauce burnt at the bottom.
Add the ground cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin, thyme, and curry powder. Stir well to combine the spices with the sauce.
5. Add chicken or beef(if using):
Add the bite-sized pieces of chicken or beef to the pot (if using), and cook until they are browned on all sides.
Pour in the chicken or vegetable stock into the sauce.
Add coconut milk and bay leaves.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
6. Add rice:
Stir in the parboiled rice and ensure it is coated with the sauce.
Cover the pot with the lid and reduce the heat. Let the rice cook on low heat until it’s tender and fully cooked. This should take about 20-25 minutes. You can add a little more water or broth if needed.
7. Fluff the rice:
Once the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork. Garnish it with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley if you like.
Serve the West African Spicy Jollof Rice with salad, fried plantains, or grilled fish.