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How To Make A Homemade Nigerian Jollof Rice

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Nigerian Jollof Rice Recipe

Not to be biased but the Nigerian jollof rice recipe is one of the best there is, Ghana tries to argue their jollof rice is better though. There have been so many arguments from using a quantity of tomato to the type of rice used and google searches concerning this topic. Let’s forget the controversy, if you want to achieve that ‘party’ Jollof kind of rice at home, we have got you!

Nigerian Jollof Rice Recipe
Jollof Rice and chicken

Jollof rice is a very versatile and rich food just like many other western African foods. It has a characteristic reddish-orange or yellow look because of the tomatoes and peppers used to make it. Different west African countries have a variation of their own jollof rice but there are two constants- Rice (of any type) and tomatoes (fresh or paste). Some other ingredients adopted by 2 or more countries may include onions, salt, pepper, and local spices.

The Nigerian jollof rice recipe gives the rice an incredibly tasty and spicy meal that is inexpensive and can be put together in about 45 mins or more depending on the quantity prepared. While some Nigerians prefer the ‘party’ jollof rice, which probably smoky taste and regard it as “crème de la crème” others just want to enjoy the good jollof rice either served at weddings, birthdays, naming ceremonies, or used at home for either dinner or lunch.

How To Cook Nigerian Jollof Rice

Nigerian Jollof Rice Recipe
Jollof Rice with Goat meat and Plantain


*for 5 servings

  • 700g tomatoes (red, soft but not moldy)
  • 3 cups parboiled rice
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large purple onion
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 red scotch bonnet pepper or 40g of tatashe pepper
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp iodized salt
  • Meat stock
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 small fresh ginger or 1 tsp of powdered ginger
  • 2 seasoning cubes (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp of powdered crayfish (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika powder

The first step to successfully cooking the Nigerian Jollof is to avoid the temptation of dumping ingredients into the cooking at will. Unless you want to end up with a ”concoction”, building the right flavor base must be considered very important. Every step, timing, and ingredient used will make or mar your Jollof. So try following these steps in detail.

Tomato base

  • Pour your vegetable oil into the cooking ware and sauteeing the onions for about 3 to 5 minutes. This is the very first step to building the right flavor base.
  • The next step is to pour in your tomato mix (blended tomato and pepper). Stir for about 4 minutes.
  • The ginger and garlic go in next. Stir for 2 mins. As it begins to cook you will immediately notice the smell. It can be easy to overcook them and risk burning them.
  • Add the tomato paste and fry until the sauce becomes thick and oil starts floating on it. This takes about 15 to 25 minutes. Stir at intervals to ensure it doesn’t burn until it’s dry enough (lost enough water). It is ready when the raw smell of tomato mix changes to a cooked one.
  • The last step in preparing your tomato base is adding the thyme, curry powder, seasoning cubes, paprika powder, crayfish, and salt. Taste for salt and adjust the seasoning if there’s a need to.
  • Add your already parboiled rice into your tomato base and stir it in properly for about 2 minutes.  Any species of rice can be used in the  Nigerian jollof recipe.
  • Carefully pour the meat stock, and stir gently ensuring no rice grain is above the stock. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to medium-low; this ensures the jollof has enough steam to turn out well.
  • Leave covered for 10 mins and check. Cover tightly again for another 15 minutes until the rice is done. Your Nigerian jollof is ready!

Serving Options

Jollof rice is a versatile food option that can be enjoyed with different food items. People enjoy their jollof with different options and may have individual preferences. Here are some serving options to complete the Nigerian jollof recipe:

  • Fried Plantain: This is commonly referred to as “dodo”. Ripe sweet plantain can be diced into very small pieces and served alongside your meal or it can be roasted plantain’s ‘bole’.
  • Gizzard: The gizzard of chicken can be specially prepared using spices then fried
  • Moi-Moi: This goes hand in hand with Jollof. It is usually prepared traditionally using black-eyed beans then wrapped in foil, leaves (i.e. plantain leaves), or in small containers then cooked in a boiling water bath using maximum heat.
  • Coleslaw: Jollof is very enjoyable when eaten with coleslaw. A coleslaw is simply chopped white cabbage and grated carrots mixed with either creamed milk, mayonnaise, or optional salad cream.
  • Beef: Depending on how you want to prepare beef either by cooking, grilling, or roasting, beef is a typical serving option for Jollof. Most Nigerians prefer to boil beef with various spices then deep-fried with vegetable oil. Roasting is another popular way and is referred to as ‘suya’. Lastly, beef can also often be stewed in a red sauce or a typical Nigerian stew
  • Chicken: Chicken can either be typically cooked,  diced, fried, stewed, or roasted and served with the Nigerian Jollof. No matter how it is prepared, chicken is one of the most used serving options.
  • Fish: If you enjoy fish, one of the best ways to enjoy your Jollof is either frying, boiling, grilling, stewing, or roasting your preferred kind of fish.
  • Juice/Drinks: The pleasure of combining an ice-cold juice or any of your choice refreshment drinks goes down well with a plate of steaming hot Jollof.

Health Benefits of Eating Nigerian Jollof Rice

Most times when eating Jollof Rice due to the tasty it is in our mouth, we might not bother or want to know what the health benefits could be, and I got you on this, put together here are some health benefits of Jollof Rice if you’d like to feel free to add yours in the comment section but in all note that too much of everything they say is bad. So here are  some health benefits of Jollof Rice;

  1.  Jollof Rice is made up of rice. Rice is a well-known energy and fiber source, especially Brown Rice.
  2. Tomatoes, peppers, and onions are found in Jollof Rice. Tomatoes are beneficial to your health. They aid in the prevention of cancer. Peppers are beneficial to your health. They are high in vitamins. Onions are beneficial to your health. They help to heal infections and reduce inflammation.
  3. Jollof Rice makes you Joyful.
  4. Jollof Rice improves national ties. Notice how Nigerians team up together in opposition to Ghanaians over who makes the best Jollof Rice.
  5. It also enhances family and friendship ties
  6. Consider this, Have you ever had any terrible recollection of eating delicious Jollof Rice? Well, it brings back memories of good times
  7. The best drink that goes well with eating Jollof Rice includes; water, chilled soda drink, Zobo drink, and Red wine amongst others


So here you go Nigerian Jollof Rice Recipe. In the trending argument about who has got the best jollof rice recipe, one thing is for certain jollof rice no matter the variation is a very tasty and widely enjoyed meal across West Africa.

However, there have been many opinions on the best rice to use to achieve the perfect Jollof. Frankly, different types of rice can be used to make Jollof rice. Long grain and basmati rice are preferred options. They have less starch and when soaked in hot water or boiled for a very short period to achieve parboiled rice, it changes the starch to make it cook firmer, achieving a less sticky dish and enabling the rice to absorb nutrients than other types of white rice.

Finally cooking following the steps above judiciously will ensure you achieve the Nigerian ‘party’ Jollof.

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