1 hour, 5 minutes
Jollof rice actually originates from Senegal, although it’s popular throughout West Africa. Every country has a distinct way of making it. One might play with the cooking method, type of grain or the colours of the tomatoes and peppers used to give it a unique twist. Nigerians in particular like to use parboiled long-grain rice to create theirs. However, the one thing that can be agreed on is that if yours is soggy or looks wet, it’s considered a failure – Jollof rice should never look like a risotto. It’s a dish that people feel very sensitive about and many Nigerians are convinced that theirs is the best known to man. I’ve provided two recipes: one steamed version (shown on the left) because it’s almost impossible to burn the rice when it’s cooked this way, and one cauliflower version (photographed on the right overleaf). I turn to this when I’m trying to reduce my carb intake or if I just want a slightly lighter meal.
How to make Steamed Jollof Rice?
1. In a frying pan set over a medium–low heat, melt the coconut oil and add the tomato purée, Scotch bonnet, ginger and onion. Fry for 5 minutes until the onion takes on a red hue. Add the chopped tomatoes – there’s no need to blend them but you can do so if you prefer – along with the herbs, spices and salt. Stir well and continue frying for a further 5 minutes until the tomatoes become deep red in colour.
2. Meanwhile, set up the steamer by filling a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Place the steaming pan on top and bring down the heat to medium–low.
3. Remove the tomatoes from the heat and add the basmati rice. Mix until the rice is well coated, then transfer the mixture to the steaming pan. Spread out evenly and top with the bay leaves. Cover and steam for 30–40 minutes, fluffing the rice with a fork every 10 minutes to make sure it is cooking evenly, until the rice is tender and cooked.
4. Take the steamer off the pan, fluff the rice once more and spoon on to hot plates to serve.