Interested in how to cook Jollof rice?
Well, you're in for a show because in this post, I will show you how to prepare Jollof rice the easy tasty way.
Plus you will also discover how to make 8 different flavourful variations of Nigerian Jollof rice recipe.
Yes Eight! ( From classic Jollof rice, to the party Jollof rice all the way down to my favourite healthier lower-calorie Jollof rice).
Alright, let's get started right away, we have a lot of cooking to do...
How to Cook Jollof rice (Nigerian Classic)
Here's how to make the Classic Nigerian jollof rice (Also known as spicy jollof rice or West African jollof rice, Nigeria style).
Classic Nigerian Jollof Rice Recipe
This recipe is the one of the classic ways of making Nigerian jollof rice.
1Parboil your protein choice (meat or chicken) with the spices listed above. Remove from the water and set aside for later use.
2Blend your red bell pepper, scotch bonnet, tomatoes, onions (three-quarter of your big onions), garlic and ginger and put to a boil till a thick paste is formed where there’s little or no water left.
3Fry your protein of choice in oil (I’m using olive oil) till it’s tender and golden brown then set aside. Meanwhile, wash and parboil your rice.
4In a stainless/aluminium pot or saucepan, heat a little of the left-over oil from frying your protein, sauté the rest of your ominous till it’s fragrant and translucent. Add a teaspoon of thyme and curry, white pepper to taste and one finger or a teaspoon of ground ginger alongside ground nutmeg.
5Add your canned tomato paste and stir while frying. Fry till it has lost its acidic/sour taste. Then add the blended tomato-pepper mix and keep stirring while frying. At this point, get your meat/chicken water (stock) and add to the mix. Taste for seasoning and add your salt and/or seasoning cubes if needed.
6Add your parboiled rice to your stew base and stir till all the grains are coated with the stew base. (You can choose to take out part of your stew base for later before adding your rice). Leave to simmer till all the water is absorbed.
7Check for doneness. Cover with a tight lid and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes then stir (let the steam do the rest of the work). Serve with your meat or chicken.
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How to make Smoky/Party Jollof Rice
The idea behind this jollof recipe is to achieve that "smokey" flavour and taste that comes with party jollof rice cooked with firewood.
Although, it can be difficult to achieve at home. However, I’m hopeful that with this few tricks, you would be able get that “Party jollof rice” taste without having to cook with firewood.
Smoky/Party Jollof Rice Recipe
This recipe is the home version of the Nigerian party jollof rice
1After broiling your red bell pepper (tatashe), scotch bonnet pepper (Ata-rodo), onions, garlic and ginger in the oven; you blend. Then you put into a pot and boil till all the water is absorbed and you’re left with a thick paste.
2Now in this step, a lot of people advise not to parboil the rice but instead to get an easy cook rice as not parboiling allows the rice to spend more time in the stew base absorbing all the flavours, thereby intensifying it. But I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of not parboiling (so for the benefit of those of us that would still like to parboil), I read a tip from Dooney’s kitchen I found useful. You can pre-boil your rice before washing. You make sure all the cloudy water is on top and you’ve achieved that white colour you get from cooked rice...you also want it to be firm. You bring out the rice from the pot and run through cold water. You can then proceed to wash your rice.
3Meanwhile, You get your stainless steel pot and put in your cooking oil (I’m using olive oil, any choice of oil is fine) and butter. Sauté your onions till it’s fragrant and translucent.
4Add your tomato paste and stir while frying. You would want to fry till the oil bubbles through and is seen above the paste.
5Add thyme, curry, paprika, white pepper. Keep stirring while frying ( we would like to get all the spices into the paste). Then, you add your blended tomato mix and a little of your beef/chicken stock (adding in bits is important, we don’t want our stew base to be too watery). After adding the stock, check for seasoning and add your salt, seasoning cube if needed.
6We want our rice to soak up enough of our stew base. So first, take out a little of your stew base from the pot and then add your rice. Stir continuously till all the grains have been coated in the stew (you can add more of your stew base if it’s not enough). Then, add your stock or water to exactly the level of your rice.
7Cover your pot and allow to cook in low to medium heat till all the liquid has been absorbed. This can usually take about 20-30mins. When there’s no liquid left, you add your Stubb’s mesquite liquid smoke in little quantity. This gives an added smoky flavour to your rice. Please, be careful not to go overboard with adding it to your rice.
8Then cover your pot in a foil wrapper and close with a tight lid. Let the steam do the rest of the work. Now, one very efficient way to get that smokey smell and flavour ingrained in your jollof rice is allowing it to burn. So, turn up your heat to the highest and let it cook for about 5-8mins or till you smell that burn. You put off your heat.
9Check for doneness, garnish and serve.
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How to make Ofada Jollof Rice
Here's how to make the Ofada Jollof Rice:
This recipe is another jollof rice variation that involves using Ofada rice instead of the usual long-grian rice.
1Place a large pot of water on high heat to boil.
2Once your water boils, wash your ofada rice and put in the boiled water. Reduce heat to medium and allow the rice to cook uncovered for about 30 to 35 minutes.
3Turn off heat and remove rice from fire and quickly drain water using a sieve (or a colander)
Note: You have to drain the rice quickly and move to the next step in order to keep the steam intact.
4Put drained rice back into the pot and season with some salt. Cover tightly and return the pot on the cooker (turned- off) and allowed to rest for about 10-15 minutes. Then fluff with a fork. (At this stage you have yourself a perfectly cooked ofada rice, you can eat with stew. For jollof continue with the next steps.)
5In a large pan (or skillet) heat up your oil.
6Add in your onions and cleaned shrimp. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes on high heat, then remove shrimp and set aside.
7Then add in your Stew paste/blended pepper mix, pre-cooked meat, salt, Maggi and pepper. Stir and simmer covered for about 3 minutes.
8Add in the cooked ofada rice and green onions. Stir, taste and adjust for seasoning. Stir-fry for 2 more minutes
9Turn off heat, garnish with the shrimps and serve!
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How to make Local jollof rice
While it is called “Iresi eyin” in Yoruba land; it is also called “Iwuk Edesi” from the Ibibio and Efik speaking parts of Nigeria, “Banga rice” from the Urhobo parts of Nigeria and “Palm oil rice”. Here's how to make it...
In this jollof recipe, the prevailing ingredients are palm oil, palm nut extract and Banga species (in the case of Banga rice), iru(locust beans), dried crayfish (can also be grounded), dry fish or smoked fish and scent leaves (Efinrin).
1Wash your rice and set aside. You can parboil if you want.
2Wash and shred your scent leaves and put aside.
3In a saucepan, heat your palm oil and sauté your onions till it’s translucent. Add your blend mix and stir while frying.
4Add your locust beans (you should have soaked the locust beans in a little salt water), your smoked fish and ground crayfish. Proceed to add your beef/chicken stock in bits.
5Stir in your rice in the stew base and add more stock if needed. Taste for seasoning and add if necessary.
6Allow to simmer in low or medium heat until all the water is absorbed. Add your shredded scent leaves and cover with a tight lid. Allow to simmer in low heat for about 5minutes so that the steam can do the rest of the work. Check for doneness.
Food is ready!
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How to make Oven baked Jollof rice
Here's how to make the Oven Baked Jollof Rice recipe:
Oven Baked Jollof Rice Recipe
This recipe is the variation of Nigerian jollof rice recipe using an oven.
1Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2Blend the peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger into a mix then put to boil till all the water has been absorbed; the idea is to get a thick paste.
3Wash and parboil your rice and set aside.
4Meanwhile, heat oil in a roast pan/skillet/large pan, then sauté your onions till it’s fragrant and translucent.
5Add your spices: thyme, curry powder, white pepper, smoked paprika and ginger. Then add the tomato paste and stir while frying (to prevent it from burning). Keep frying till the acidic/sour taste in tomato paste isn’t there. Proceed to add your blended mix and stir. You can add a little stock into your stew base. Taste for salt/ seasoning and add if necessary. This could take about 20-30mins; cook till the oil stays afloat and bubbles to the top.
6Transfer rice to a roast pan then pour in your tomato stew/sauce and stir. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
7Cover the pan with foil wrapper, place on the lower rack of the oven and cook till all the water has been absorbed.
8Check for doneness and if done, turn off the oven. If not done, still turn off the oven and leave the rice covered in the oven for another five minutes.
9Bring out of the oven. Garnish to your taste and serve.
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How to make Coconut Jollof rice
Here's how to make the Coconut Jollof rice recipe;
Coconut Jollof Rice Recipe
This recipe is another jollof rice recipe that comes with an added coconut flavour.
1Wash your rice thoroughly and parboil with the coconut milk. Let the coconut milk be slightly above the level of the rice. The idea is to cook the rice but should still remain firm because you’re not cooking the rice all through
2Meanwhile, you should have blended your red bell pepper, scotch bonnet pepper, tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger and brought to a boil till the water is dried up. The blend mix should be a thick paste.
3Pour coconut oil into a saucepan, add onions and fry till it’s scented and translucent. Then add tomato paste and stir to fry. Add thyme, curry powder, white pepper, bay leaves and keep stirring till the oil floats to the top and the tomato paste has lost its sour, acidic taste. (That’s when you know the tomato paste is fried well).
4Add your blend mix of pepper and tomato to the tomato paste and add your beef/chicken stock. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. When this is done and begins to bubble, you add your parboiled rice into the stew and leave to simmer.
5Simmer for about 10-15mins or when the water is absorbed. Check for doneness and if not done to your satisfaction, place foil paper over the rice and cover tightly. Trapping in the steam would let the rice cook thoroughly and allowing it to slightly burn brings about a caramelisation of the coconut, enhancing the coconut flavour.
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How to make Seafood Jollof rice
Here's how to make seafood jollof rice recipe
Seafood Jollof Rice Recipe
This recipe is a variation of Nigerian jollof rice with seafoods for added flavour.
1Wash and parboil your rice. Set aside
2Blend your tatashe, Ata-rodo, tomatoes, onions and garlic. Put to a boil till a thick paste is formed.
3In a saucepan, heat your oil and sauté your onions till it’s translucent. Add ginger, thyme, curry powder, white powder and black pepper to taste. Then add your blended mix and stir while frying.
4Fry until the oil floats to the top then add your stock. Next, add your rice and mix well for all the grains to be incorporated in the stew base. Make sure the stock/ water level is the same as your rice.
5Allow to cook till all the water is absorbed. Check for doneness. Meanwhile, get your seafood ready.
6Add your bay leaves to your rice and proceed to add your seafood. Stir well to incorporate all of your seafood into the jollof rice.
7Cover the saucepan with a tight lid, let it simmer in low heat for about 5 minutes.
8Add your garnishes if you have and serve.
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How to make Basmati Jollof rice
This recipe shows you how to cook Basmati Jollof Rice either with an oven or in a regular pot with heat.
Basmati Jollof Rice Recipe
This recipe is a variation of jollof rice using Basmati rice
Directions (With Pot):
1Blend your red bell pepper, Scotch bonnet pepper, tomatoes, onions and garlic. Pour the purée into a pot and heat until the water has dried up. The idea is to achieve a thick paste.
2Get your rice into a bowl. Put water to a boil and add the boiled water into the bowl. Make sure the hot water touches every grain of the rice then drain.
3Heat cooking oil and butter in a pot. I would be using olive oil (any other choice of oil is fine). Add your sliced onions and sauté till it looks translucent. Add your tomato paste and fry while stirring; you would know the tomato paste is done when the sour, acidic taste is replaced with a sweet taste and the oil floats and bubbles to the top. Pour your blended pepper-tomato mix and keep stirring while frying then add your beef/chicken stock (you don’t have to add everything, add in bits). Add your curry, thyme, bay leaves, ginger etc. Because the stock is already well seasoned, be careful with adding salt and/or seasoning cubes so it’s not too salty. Taste to adjust when necessary.
4Add the rice into your tomato stew and check if there’s need to add stock and/or water. Add any if needed and taste and check for seasoning. The stock/water level should be the same as the rice. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot with foil wrapper and cover tightly. Reduce the heat and steam for about 10-15mins or until the water has dried. Check for doneness and if it remains small for the rice to be done, do not add water. Instead, cover with the foil wrapper and tighten the pot lid. The heat in the pot would steam the rice.
When it’s done, you can add your garnish to your taste.
Directions (With Oven):
1Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2Blend your red bell pepper, Scotch bonnet pepper, tomatoes, onions and garlic. Pour the purée into a pot and heat until the water has dried up. The idea is to achieve a thick paste.
3Get your rice into a bowl. Put water to a boil and add the boiled water into the bowl. Make sure the hot water touches every grain of the rice then drain and set aside.
4Heat cooking oil and butter in a pot.. Add in your sliced onions and sauté till it looks translucent. Add your tomato paste and fry while stirring; you would know the tomato paste is done when the sour, acidic taste is replaced with a sweet taste and the oil floats and bubbles to the top. Pour your blended pepper-tomato mix and keep stirring while frying then add your beef/chicken stock (you don’t have to add everything, add in bits). Add your curry, thyme, bay leaves, ginger etc. Because the stock is already well seasoned, be careful with adding salt and/or seasoning cubes so it’s not too salty. Taste to adjust when necessary.
5Transfer rice to a roast pan then pour in your tomato stew/sauce and stir. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
6Cover the pan with foil wrapper, place on the lower rack of the oven and cook till all the water has been absorbed.
7Check for doneness and if done, turn off the oven. If not done, still turn off the oven and leave the rice covered in the oven for another five minutes.
8Bring out of the oven. Garnish to your taste and serve.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Cooking Jollof rice:
Here are the frequently asked questions about cooking jollof rice and their answers:
Do I still need to use tomato paste?
Using either a tomato paste or tomato purée is important to get that rich colour that Jollof rice has. However, it's not not necessary.
Do I have to boil my tomato purée before frying
You can skip the process of boiling and go straight to frying till the tomato purée loses all that acidity/ sour taste and then you also notice the oil bubbling through.
Is it compulsory to use a beef/chicken stock to cook my Jollof rice?
Using Beef/Chicken Stock is not compulsory. For vegans, using water in place of Beef/Chicken Stock is fine.
Should my rice burn a little to get that smokey flavour?
Burning your jollof rice a little is one of the methods of having adding the smokey flavour into your Jollof rice. In fact, that method is as old as day and remains effective.
Nigerian Jollof Rice Recipe (Tasty & 5 Easy Steps)
Plus you will also discover how to make 8 different flavourful variations of Nigerian Jollof rice recipe.Yes Eight! ( From classic Jollof rice, to the party Jollof rice all the way down to my favourite healthier lower-calorie Jollof rice).
Jollof rice, party jollof rice, smoky jollof rice, spicy jollof rice
- Tomato paste
- Bell peppers
- Scotch Bonnet Pepper
- Seasoning cube
- White Pepper
Let me know in the comments below which of these Nigerian jollof rice recipe you'll be trying first.