7:04 PM

My ever dearest mum has been asking me, if I've been eating well. Truth is, I've been cutting corners with food. It's been mostly coffee, these past few weeks (hides face). So, I finished my week with some wiggle time, and I decided to cook the ever amazing 'Jollof Rice'. Remember a few weeks ago, I was seriously craving 'Party Jollof Rice'?
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and one of the 7 fun ways to spend thanksgiving is 'cooking'; of course the main part of thanksgiving is FOOD.

I remember during my days as an undergraduate student, I didn't have a full kitchen; cooking was difficult. I had to improvise A LOT. It's been a few years now, and I have what could pass for a kitchen (tongue in cheek). Well, the memories of my hustle days are still very fresh. 

As an international student, I love cooking jollof rice because, I don't need to go to the African store to get the ingredients. I can find everything in any grocery store.

There are a LOT of recipes, methods and videos for jollof rice; each comes with its own unique style. I'm not a chef, and I have no plans of becoming one. However, I am a student and I know the HUSTLE. I know how we  don't have enough money and/or time to make decent meals.

For those, who might be hearing about jollof rice for the first time, it is a sensational West African dish. I'm not sure of all the countries that prepare this meal, but I know Nigeria and Ghana are MAJOR consumers.

Let's get this party started.

#1 Parboiled rice - 1 cup

It actually says 'Parboiled' on the bag. This cost more than the non-parboiled rice, but it works best with jollof rice. However, if the other kind is what you can afford, it's perfect. There are minor changes in the cooking steps, which I noted.

#2 Onions or Onion powder - 1 small bulb or 1 table spoon

#3 Fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes paste (aka tin-tomatoe) - 4 small pieces or 1 small tin

#4 Fresh Pepper (Habanero or Jalepeno) or Crushed/powdered red pepper - 1 small piece or 1 teaspoon or whatever you like (I LOVE SPICY).

#5 Fresh Garlic or powdered garlic - 1 clove or 1 table spoon

#6 Fresh ginger or powdered ginger -  1 table spoon of minced ginger or powdered ginger

#7 Chicken/beef broth - 3/4 to 1.5 cups (depending on the kind of rice)

#8 Vegetable oil (any brand) - 7 tablespoons

#9 Any kind of meat or egg - 0.5 lb or 1

#10 Bouillon cube (aka maggi/knor) - 1 cube

#11 Curry - 1 teaspoon 

#12 Thyme - 1 teaspoon 

#13 Salt - to taste

Absolutely Optional:

a) Dried parsley leaves - 0.5 teaspoon
b) Rosemary (my secret weapon) - 0.5 teaspoon
c) Nutmeg - a pinch
d) Crayfish - 1 teaspoon

If you notice, for each of the fresh ingredients, I put a dry/tin version. As you would imagine, the canned or dried products are cheaper. But, the secret to a cheap, delicious meal is a nice blend of canned/dried and fresh ingredients. I will describe the recipe in three ways: Cheap (mostly fresh), Cheaper (Fresh and Dry), Cheapest (Mostly Dry)


Step 1: Wash tomatoes, pepper, onions, ginger, and garlic, and blend. If you don't have a blender, chop with a knife. Some people, can't stand chopped ginger. If you don't have a blender, fresh ginger and garlic are very optional. If you blend, you will have to dry, using a stove or electric skillet, until it is a thick paste. If you chopped, go to step 2.

Step 2: Prepare your meat and broth
Cut your fish/chicken/meat into preferred sizes. Wash and place in a clean pot. Cut onions, and add salt to your taste; you could add curry/thyme if you like (1/2 teaspoon). Chicken and beef will produce water, but you have to add water to fish (just enough to cover fish). Bring to boil, until meat is tender. Beef takes a little longer to cook. (Tip: Check after the first five minutes of boiling, and check every two-three minutes after that, until it's tender enough for you).

Step 3: Separate the cooked meat from the liquid (broth). Fry or bake meat. If you don't mind eating it boiled or you are too tired, skip to step 4.

Step 4: Wash rice and boil for 5 minutes. After the time has passed, take it off the stove or remove from skillet. Wash rice again with cold water and let it sit in a bowl or sieve. If you don't use a parboiled rice, skip this step. This is because, the rice will be too soft and won't look good at the end. Just wash the raw rice, and keep.

Step 5: Chop half of a medium onion or a small one, and pour vegetable oil in a pot/skillet/pan

Step 6: Heat oil for 2-4 minutes,  until oil sizzles around onion. One way to test this, is by throwing a piece of onion into the pot. Please, don't make it too hot. 

Step 7: Stir the onion for a couple of minutes, and add the chopped or blended pepper and tomatoes. Add 1 teaspoon of curry and thyme (and any other spices, if you like). Add 1 bouillon cube. Skip the salt for now, because you could over-salt, when you add the stock later.

Step 8: Stir tomatoes sauce for about 10 minutes. drain out excess oil, if you like. Add the meat broth/stock. If you have a lot of broth, you can add a little bit and keep the rest for later.

Step 9: Scoop out half of the sauce. This serves two purposes: helps with mixing with the rice, and helps you control the ingredients in your final product.

Step 10: Add the parboiled or uncooked rice to the sauce

Step 11: Mix it DARLING!

Step 11: You can see from the picture above, the rice is not covered. It is very important for jollof rice to be covered. This is the time to add the rest of the meat stock/broth, and fried tomatoes. Use your taste buds and your eyes. For the broth, add until rice is just covered (not too much liquid; just above it). Add the rest of the tomatoes sauce, if you want more redness or taste. Add crayfish (1 table spoon). Finally, add salt to taste. Stir and taste. Make sure, the sauce taste how you want the rice to taste. (Tip: Don't be nervous, if it is slightly salty.The rice will taste less salty. Please note 'slightly'...if it's too salty, add a little water, not broth). It's always better to have not enough salt, than too much salt in food.

Note how the rice is covered; just above.

Step 12: Let it cook under low heat until the water dries (tip: low heat steams the rice, instead of boiling it without cooking properly). If you want the 'Party Jollof' flavor, let it BURN! If you cooked one cup it should take about 15-20 minutes. This depends heavily on what kind of rice you used. In the event that the liquid dries and the rice is still hard, add a little more water/broth. If you notice that the rice is soft, and there's still too much water, use a spoon and take out excess water from the surface. If this is your first time, things might not go smoothly. However, there's nothing to worry about. The more you do it, the better you will get at it. 

Cheaper (Blend of fresh and dry/canned)

This is where it gets interesting; I have two plans. The steps are similar with some tweaks.

Plan A: Rice, fresh onions, fresh pepper, oil, canned tomatoes paste, salt/spices, and meat. For plan A, I chose fresh onions, pepper, and meat, as the fresh ingredients, because they add that nice, fresh flavor to your meal. Taking off, the fresh tomatoes, fresh ginger and garlic, saves time/money and eliminates your need for a blender.

Method A
Skip step 1
Do steps 2, 3, 4, 5,6
For step 7, canned tomatoes will replace the blended one. Add any powdered spices you have (curry, thyme, ginger, garlic, parsley leaves).
Do steps 8, 9, 10, 11

Plan B: Rice, fresh onions, fresh pepper, oil, canned tomatoes paste, salt/spices, meat broth, and egg.

For plan B, the only difference is meat and broth. Egg is cheaper, and chicken/beef broth can be purchased. This saves time and money too...

Method B
Skip steps 1, 2, 3

Do step 4 , 5, 6
For step 7, canned tomatoes will replace the blended one. Add any powdered spices you have (curry, thyme, ginger, garlic, parsley leaves).
Do steps 8, 9, 10, 11
Boil your egg last, so that it's warm when you are ready to eat.

Cheapest (Mostly Dry/Canned)

Rice, canned tomatoes, powdered onions, powdered pepper, salt, other spices, oil, water, and egg. The additional difference here is water replaces broth and there's no fresh ingredient. This saves the most money and time, but might not taste as well. Don't worry! The trick is to add more spices, salt, and, pepper. Taste! Taste! Taste!


Skip steps 1, 2, 3
Do step 4
For steps 5, 6 and 7, there are no sliced onions. Just heat the oil, add the canned tomatoes paste, and add all your powdered spices (onion, curry, thyme, etc.), bouillon cube, and don't add the salt yet.
Do steps 8, 9, 10, 11 (add water, where you would add broth. Add a little at a time, to prevent dilution...taste, taste, taste).
Boil your egg last.

I hope it's easy to follow.
Please drop your comments, questions, and suggestions.
If you try this, let me know.

Extra tip; Eat with a movie starring Osuofia (Nkem Owoh), and get the full Nigerian experience

Lots of love

You Might Also Like


Your comment will make my day; tell me what you think.

Don't MISS my next post

Winie's Channel


Follow Us