One of the most difficult things about being a new wife in a culture that is not your own is the eternal struggle of trying to figure out how to feed my husband without breaking the bank. There are a great number of Nigerian/African restaurants in and around the New York City area. However, it is not wise or even healthy to eat outside of the home frequently. To save money, I am trying to learn how to make the Nigerian dishes that my husband loves for those days when he just wants a taste of home.
So recently I spent some time with my mother-in-law in the kitchen to learn how to make correct Nigerian Jollof Rice. For those of you who do not know, Jollof Rice is a staple spicy and flavorful dish frequently served in West Africa. There are so many “war stories” around West African about who make the best version of Jollof Rice. Each country has it’s own flavor (pun intended) and I am always excited to taste the differences in rice.
With all that said, Jollof rice is sacred. You will be judged fiercely by the way you make this rice. It needs to have spice and flavor. Too much greasy is frowned upon. No one will fault you if it’s a little burnt on the bottom.
Back to the my own Jollof –
I wish I could share all the jokes Mommy made towards me in jest. From the way I cut tomatoes and onions to my hesitation with stirring rice while it cooked, it was a fun time. Here is a video I created for the YouTube channel showing me actually cooking Jollof Rice from start to finish.
Complete List of the Ingredients used in the video:
(6) cups of parboiled rice
(2) Tatashe (big red bell peppers)
(4) Tomatoes (plum size)
(5) habanero peppers
(5) pices of garlic
(1) cup of vegetable oil
(1) tablespoon of Butter
(2) Maggi Seasoning Cubes
Goya Sazon Seasoning (not necessary but we like it)
All Purpose Adobo Seasoning (not necessary but we enjoy it)
4 pinches of Ground Nutmeg
4 pinches of Curry Powder
¼ cup of Thyme
2 pinches Garlic Power (we already used fresh garlic cloves earlier)
2 pinches of salt (remember we use maggi seasoning and chicken stock)
3-4 Bay Leaves
2-3 cups of Stock of your choice – Chicken, Beef, etc.
**We were missing our Tomato Paste, but ordinarily would have 3 oz of Tomato paste to fry with onions before we add the blending peppers.
Try it and let me know how it turned out for you.