Throwdown Thursday: Jollof Rice

Jollof rice is one of the most common West African dishes eaten in the regions of Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Cameroun, Liberia, Dominica Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. However, each of these countries has their own variation of this meal. It is inexpensive and easy to make yet, delicious. This recipe was submitted by one of our members of POCU, Omar Veras.

It’s the battle of the best Jollof rice! This dish is one of the top beloved cuisines and everyone has their own flare in it no matter if you hail from West Africa or from the Caribbean. It varies from country to country however not matter the strained this culinary treasure’s aroma and deep texture will keep you wanting more while reminding you what true heart and soul is all about.

I still remember waking up on Sunday mornings to my grandma cooking a fresh batch on Sunday with a side of Con-con. We call this Locrio in my country however it comes from our African roots. After several days of convincing mom dukes to share my grandmas secrets she finally opened the vault to the step by step. Hopefully you and you family enjoy it as much as mine does on the regular!

-Omar Veras

Ingredients

  • 2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 14 oz diced tomato, 2 cans
  • 6 oz tomato paste, 1 can
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon mixed dried herbs
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed
  • 2 ½ cups long grain rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetable
  • 1 ½ cups water

Directions

Remember when cooking Jollof rice, building a flavor base is very important. Watch the overload of ingredients before it becomes a concoction. Each step counts so try to do each of the steps in detail.

  1. Add onions and 2 tablespoons of oil to a blender and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and habanero pepper to the blender, and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a separate medium bowl.
  3. Heat the remaining ⅓ cup (80 ml) of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
  4. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion puree and cook until the water has cooked out and the puree is starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomato puree and add the curry powder, garlic powder, ginger, dried herbs, and crushed bouillon cubes. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stew has reduced by half and is deep red in color.
  6. Add the rice, mixed vegetables, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with foil and a lid. Simmer for another 30 minutes, until the rice is cooked through, and the liquid is absorbed.

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