#WorldJollofRiceDay is on August 22. Read My favourite Jollof tales by inspirational cook and author Patti Gyapomaa Sloley.
The 'Queen' Of Rice Dishes - Jollof Rice
Jollof is West Africa's culinary gift to the world with a flavour all its own. It represents what paella is to Spain, Risotto is to Italy and Biriyani is to India. Packed with flavour it serves as an elegant centrepiece and a real feast for the eyes at birthday parties, christenings, weddings... at all celebrations!
Jollof for me has three parts...first of all, the deep, rich and spicy tomato sauce, then the meat, seasoned and cooked till tender to create a flavoursome stock and then fried, finally the rice, to bring it all together. The soul of this dish is in the stock where the flavour notes are created.
Growing up I remember my mother always using fresh, ripe tomatoes to prepare her tomato sauce, or gravy as we call it. As the jollof cooked, the tomato skins would curl and poke through the rice along with the unmistakable jollof aroma...an indication that the dish was ready and I could barely wait for the first scoop! In my opinion, there should be no waiting around - this is a dish that deserves to be tucked into right away and every mouthful savoured to the very last grain! I love to compliment it with spinach, green beans or avocado.
My Favourite Jollof Tales
Trying to impress my boyfriend who is now my husband, I decided to make him jollof rice...now I must confess I was on the phone for a little too long and the inevitable happened…burnt rice. He arrived and there was no escaping…I called it 'smoked rice' and guess what, like Oliver Twist he asked for more, "I've had steamed rice and fried rice, but never had smoked rice!!” At least he lived to tell the tale...happy to say he's still enjoying my jollof rice, unsmoked I might add.
My mum served her exquisite jollof rice to two lovely 10 year old boys who were visiting from Liberia. They went back for seconds and then a third....and said "Mommy, nat dat we nat full, but de food too sweet!”
Long may Jollof reign!
Patti Gyapomaa Sloley
Visit www.pattismenu.com for Patti's recipes.
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