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Jollof rice

Jollof rice is a West African staple. It’s hotly contested where exactly it comes from (Nigeria? Ghana? Senegal?) much like the Nusantara argues over the origins of rendang. For Al, this jollof rice is as much Nigerian as it is his own version. He recommends serving it with pepper chicken and fried plantains, although it’s already incredibly delicious on its own.

Read Al’s story on his jollof rice here.

 

Tableware by Ilham Ceramic Studio.

Jollof rice

by Al Ibrahim

Jollof rice is a West African staple. It’s hotly contested where exactly it comes from (Nigeria? Ghana? Senegal?) much like the Nusantara argues over the origins of rendang. For Al, this jollof rice is as much Nigerian as it is his own version. He recommends serving it with pepper chicken and fried plantains, although it’s already incredibly delicious on its own.

Read Al’s story on his jollof rice here.

 

Tableware by Ilham Ceramic Studio.

Servings: 8

Servings: 8

6 red tomatoes

1 bell pepper, stem removed and deseeded

1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced into rings

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1″ ginger, peeled

1 habanero, stem removed and deseeded

3 cups uncooked rice, preferably parboiled long grain

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 bay leaf

1 tin (160g) tomato puree

1 tbsp fresh thyme OR ½ tbsp dried thyme

½ tbsp meat curry powder

500ml chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water

2 tsp salt, or more to taste

1 carrot, diced

4-5 long beans, sliced into 1″ sticks

½ cup peas

  1. In a blender or food processor, add the tomatoes, bell pepper, ⅔ of the onions, garlic, ginger, and habanero. Blend or process until smooth.
  2. Place a wide, shallow pan on medium-low heat. Pour the blended tomato sauce into the pan and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is to reduce the water content and thicken the sauce.
  3. While the tomato sauce is reducing, prepare the rice and the rest of the flavour base. Place the uncooked rice into a strainer and wash it under running water until the water runs clear. Set aside.
  4. Place a separate pan onto medium heat, and pour in the coconut oil. Stir fry the remaining ⅓ of the onions and the bay leaf until the onions begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add the tinned tomato puree, thyme, and salt. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes.
  6. At this point, the tomato sauce in the larger pan should be nicely reduced. Pour the reduced tomato sauce from the first pan into the second pan with the bay leaf. Add the curry powder, and mix everything well. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, then turn off the heat.
  7. Place the washed rice into a rice cooker pot, along with the stock or water. Pour the spiced tomato sauce into the rice cooker along with the diced carrots, and mix thoroughly. Set the rice cooker to cook (see Tips section below).
  8. About 5 minutes before the rice is done, lift the lid of the rice cooker and add the long beans and peas. Put the lid back on.
  9. Once the rice is done cooking, leave the lid on and let the rice sit for about 15 minutes. After the resting time, fluff the rice in the cooker and serve.

Tips

  • If habaneros are not available, substitute with 2-3 large fresh red chillies. The flavour will not be as fruity as habanero, but will do in a pinch.
  • If using a non-digital rice cooker, the lever may release before the rice is done cooking. If this happens, carefully wedge a wadded-up corner of a towel into the space above the lever to keep it down. Set a timer for 15 minutes; once it goes off, pull the towel out to release the lever.
  • If using a non-digital rice cooker or one that is not non-stick, the rice may burn at the base of the pot. This is common when cooking rice with add-ins, especially those with higher sugar content like tomatoes. Simply leave the burnt layer in the pot, but remember to soak overnight for easier cleanup.

Ingredients

6 red tomatoes

1 bell pepper, stem removed and deseeded

1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced into rings

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1″ ginger, peeled

1 habanero, stem removed and deseeded

3 cups uncooked rice, preferably parboiled long grain

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 bay leaf

1 tin (160g) tomato puree

1 tbsp fresh thyme OR ½ tbsp dried thyme

½ tbsp meat curry powder

500ml chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water

2 tsp salt, or more to taste

1 carrot, diced

4-5 long beans, sliced into 1″ sticks

½ cup peas

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, add the tomatoes, bell pepper, ⅔ of the onions, garlic, ginger, and habanero. Blend or process until smooth.
  2. Place a wide, shallow pan on medium-low heat. Pour the blended tomato sauce into the pan and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is to reduce the water content and thicken the sauce.
  3. While the tomato sauce is reducing, prepare the rice and the rest of the flavour base. Place the uncooked rice into a strainer and wash it under running water until the water runs clear. Set aside.
  4. Place a separate pan onto medium heat, and pour in the coconut oil. Stir fry the remaining ⅓ of the onions and the bay leaf until the onions begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add the tinned tomato puree, thyme, and salt. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes.
  6. At this point, the tomato sauce in the larger pan should be nicely reduced. Pour the reduced tomato sauce from the first pan into the second pan with the bay leaf. Add the curry powder, and mix everything well. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, then turn off the heat.
  7. Place the washed rice into a rice cooker pot, along with the stock or water. Pour the spiced tomato sauce into the rice cooker along with the diced carrots, and mix thoroughly. Set the rice cooker to cook (see Tips section below).
  8. About 5 minutes before the rice is done, lift the lid of the rice cooker and add the long beans and peas. Put the lid back on.
  9. Once the rice is done cooking, leave the lid on and let the rice sit for about 15 minutes. After the resting time, fluff the rice in the cooker and serve.

Tips

  • If habaneros are not available, substitute with 2-3 large fresh red chillies. The flavour will not be as fruity as habanero, but will do in a pinch.
  • If using a non-digital rice cooker, the lever may release before the rice is done cooking. If this happens, carefully wedge a wadded-up corner of a towel into the space above the lever to keep it down. Set a timer for 15 minutes; once it goes off, pull the towel out to release the lever.
  • If using a non-digital rice cooker or one that is not non-stick, the rice may burn at the base of the pot. This is common when cooking rice with add-ins, especially those with higher sugar content like tomatoes. Simply leave the burnt layer in the pot, but remember to soak overnight for easier cleanup.

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© Copyright Periuk 2021

© Copyright Periuk 2021

 
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