Jollof rice is one of the accepted and most preferred rice dishes during allceremonial events like party, wedding,Christmas,dedication,graduation and burial in Nigeria, even though fried rice is accepted too, it is not always that one may come across fried rice in places like these, unlike jollof rice that is prepared in every occasion and almost everyday and in many houses. Sometimes you can even find some people quarrelling over a plate of jollof rice for no reason, and you begin to wonder what on earth is inside jollof rice that people fight for in an open place like such.I Just can’t tell why most people fight for this particular dish; maybe its because of it is beautifully packaged indisposable plates with a distinct aroma or because of its attractive orange-like colour. For whatever reason, jollof rice is a delicious meal, no matter what you use to prepare it, be it fish, chicken, beef, goat meat, vegetables or no vegtables, jollof rice has this unique taste that you can’t do without even for a week.
I can still recall while growing up in my house, almost every sunday if we don’t prepare jollof rice,then it will be white rice and stew and if none of the above then it’s definitelyAfia Efere. I think that’s why it is referredto as sunday rice by some. Jollof rice has many condiments or ingredients and many people have their different ways of preparing it.
One could decide to use fresh tomatoes or canned tomato paste while another could choose to use both canned and fresh tomatoes to cook jollof rice; whichever one they use,it is still right because it all depends on ‘taste’. Jollof rice (party rice) can be prepared with vegetables like carrots, green beans, peas, cabbage and green bell peppers or without any of the listed vegetables and can be served with plantain,moi moi, fried potato chips and soft drinks. You will be right if you spice it up with ginger, garlic,nutmeg, curry, thyme or crayfish;its a matter of choice. There is no special type of rice used for preparing jollof rice, any type can be used,whether white long grain, short grain brown rice, fat grain or local rice; all that matters is the amount of water you need to add to a particular rice; while the long grain rice may requiremuch water, the local rice may not andif you parboil the local rice for long or add too much water you may end up with a swampy or mushy jollof rice,so it’s better to control the amount of water added to both types of riceto avoid too soft or too hard jollof rice.
When trying to achieve the smoky party rice, you can either use firewood, charcoal fire (not necessary though) to cook your jollof rice or you can still use gas or stove top. In this case, you will need to leave the rice a bit on the heat to get burned at the bottom of the pot for about 5-10 minutes and allow the burnt smell to diffuse/circulate to the top and there you will get your smoky party rice. Jollof rice can also be prepared using chopped tomatoes (diced). Which ever one you use for your cooking you will still end up with an orange coloured jollof rice.
Note: when using canned or fresh tomatoes for jollof rice,both should be fried properly (theway you would have fried for stew ) untill the soured taste of the tomatois gone. Also, already frozen stew could be use in place of canned or fresh tomatoes for preparing jollof rice.
Required ingredientsfor preparing mixed vegetables jollof rice
- 4 Cups long grain rice or local rice
- Whole chicken or drumsticks/ beef/fish
- 6 pieces carrots,
- 1 cup green beans
- cup runner peas,
- 2 green bell peppers
- 150 ml vegetable or groundnut oil
- 1 Canned or fresh tomatoes
- 1 table spoon curry powder
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 2 tablespoons ground crayfish (optional)
- 3-4 Seasoning cubes
- 1 sachet Jollof rice mixed spice
- 3 scotch bonnet peppers
- 1 big onion
- Salt to taste
The above ingredients can be increased or decreased; it is dependent on the amount of rice youwantto prepare.
Steps for PreparingJollof Rice with Vegetables
- Whatever kind of meat you are using, season with onions, garlic, seasoning cubes, pepper and salt, cook until soft
- Separate the meat from the broth and keep aside.
- Parboil white rice for 10 minutes, drain the water (wash) and keep aside.
- If you are using fresh tomatoes, dice them now with onion, or if you are using canned tomato paste empty it from the can and add a little water to dissolve it and then keep aside.
- Put a dry pot on heat and heat up the vegetable oil; start to fry the meat or fish. When the meat is done frying, keep aside
- In the same pot you have just fried meat with, drop some chopped onions and fry with either the blendedor fried tomato. Stir from time to time until it is properly fried and the raw taste of the tomato has vanished.
- Season the tomato with 1 chicken stock cube, thyme, curry, nutmeg salt and pepper, and if you are going to use crayfish add at it to the content at this time too and allow the content to simmer on a low heat.
- Add the meat broth and add more chicken stock cubes and increase the water if your meat broth is not going to be enough to cook the rice until soft. Cover the pot and wait for the content to bubble before adding your parboiled rice.
- Add the parboiled rice to the content when it has boiled, stir and taste for salt and leave it to cook on medium heat till the water dries. (Note:the meat stock may not be enough; more water should be added such that the water is slightly above the rice.
- Tastes to check if the rice is completely soften, but if not drizzle a little water round the pot but don’t stir it.
- You don’t have to add your vegetables yet, until the water in the rice is almost dried before you add them.
- Finally add the chopped peas, green beans, green bell peppers and carrots and cover the pot for 5 minutes (note: the vegetable should be added last when water is almost dried to avoid overcooked or brown vegetables.
- Stir the vegetables into the jollof rice with a wooden turner round the pot to allow the vegetables to spread evenly.
- Put off heat and serve your jollof rice with fried chicken or fish and also with chilled salad.
Steps on how to make jollof rice with carrots, green beans, peas, and bell peppers
- Season and cook your meat until soft.
2. When the meat is cooked, drain from the broth and keep aside.
3. Parboil rice for 10 minutes, rinse the rice and drain excess water out of it.
4. Heat up vegetable oil and start frying your cooked meat, remove from on and keep aside.
5. Fry onions and tomato for 3minutes until the raw taste disappear.
6. Season the tomato with one seasoning cube, salt, curry, thyme, jollof rice spice, nutmeg, garlic, pepper and stir to combine.
7. Add in your meat broth and add more water, enough to cook the rice.
8.Taste for more seasoning and adjust, add the rice into the content and stir.
9. Cover the pot and allow the rice to boil until the water dries up.
10. If the liquid in the rice is dried and the rice is still hard, spread a little water round the pot but dont stir, you dont want to end up with soggy jollof rice.
11.When is just left few minutes for the water to dry completely. Add all the chopped vegetables on top of the rice and allow to steam for 5 minutes,
12. Stir the rice with a wooden turner and cover it again to sit on a low heat for 3 minutes more.
13. If you like the smoky party jollof rice, let the rice sit on a low heat for 10 minutes, it will slightly burn at the bottom of the pot before taking it off. By allowing the rice to burn a little at the bottom, more flavour is diffused out.
Enjoy your mixed vegetable jollof rice with chilled salad.