How Cook Or Prepare Nigerian Party Pleasing Jollof Rice

Making Jollof Rice the Nigerian way

Jollof rice, like Fried Rice is one of those dishes in the hall of fame. It is a popular party favourite in Nigeria and most West African countries.

It has a basic simple method and the ingredients are easy to find. For Nigerians, no wedding, funeral, birthday party is complete without it…and certainly not Christmas.

It is almost always served with chunks of fried or grilled beef and chicken, moin-moin (bean pudding), dodo (fried plantain) and maybe coleslaw. It is a very flexible dish that you can experiment with by adding your own signature ingredients.

Nigerians say that a party is not a party without jollof rice, so it’s no surprise that my first encounter with this West African favourite was at a birthday party of a Nigerian colleague. Confronted with a mouth-watering array of African fare, I was at a loss where to dig in first.

Fortunately, taking note of my indecision, one of my colleague’s aunties directed my attention to a particularly colourful looking rice dish, telling me, “Everybody loves my jollof; you should try it.”

So, naturally not wanting to let the lady down, I sampled her jollof and I wasn’t disappointed. What you can expect from jollof rice is an explosion of flavour which will leave you feeling warm, satisfied and longing for the next mouthful.

It can be compared to other well loved national rich dishes such as paella (Spain), jambalaya (Creole) and biryani (India). Combining rice, vegetables, fish, meat and spices, the dish is normally slow cooked to allow the flavours to develop and the meats to become tender, and it is definitely worth the wait.

Jollof has a distinctly African flavour, due to the common use of coconut oil, fresh red chilli pepper and spices such as guinea pepper, thyme, garlic, paprika and black pepper. And once cooked, besides the heady savoury aroma, the rich orange tinge makes it all the more appealing.

Jollof rice is believed to have originated from Senegal and Gambia and is referred to as “benanchin”, meaning “one pot” in the Wolof language.

However, it has since spread to the whole of West Africa and each country has its own way of preparing it; for example, Nigerian jollof will vary slightly from Ghanaian jollof – even within Nigeria, a member of the Igbo ethnic group will prepare it differently than the Yorubas.

It is enjoyed not only at celebrations but at home on a regular basis. It can be eaten alone, but is often accompanied by salad or moinmoin, a steamed bean pudding also popular with Nigerians.

Written for CometoNigeria Magazine by Gina Lisa Pate

Jollof Rice Recipe

The lady who turned me onto jollof rice was kind enough to provide me with her own personal recipe for this delicious dish, and I am pleased to be able to share it:

Here are the ingredients you will need for basic jollof rice (you can add your choice of meat or fish as desired).

Palm Oil / Vegetable Oil
Rice (Usually America long grain)
Meat or vegetable broth
Chopped tomatoes
Tomato puree
Red bell pepper, chopped
Green chilli pepper
Cayenne or chilli pepper powder,
Fresh thyme or dried powder
Ground black pepper
Curry powder
Garlic powder (or, 2 cloves of fresh garlic)
2 Teaspoons
1 Large and finely chopped
2 Cups
3 Cups
1 Tin
2 Tablespoons
According to personal taste
According to personal taste
According to personal taste
½ Teaspoon
1 Sprig or 1 teaspoon
½ Teaspoon
1 Teaspoon
½ Teaspoon
According to personal taste

Preparation method
First fry your onions and bell pepper in your coconut oil until almost cooked and then add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato puree and the rest of the seasonings.

Next, add your rice, followed by the broth, stir well and bring to boil. Once the mixture has begun to boil, reduce heat and leave to simmer until the rice is cooked and has absorbed all of the broth.

Serve and enjoy!


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  1. michelle says:

    palm oil is actually very good for health

  2. Olu says:

    Nice, but its not vegetarian when you have used broth/ stock and stock cubes……


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