The first time I made Jollof rice was for a Ghanaian friends baby shower. I wanted to make it for her and I was itching to have a reason to delve in to African cuisine. I was told I got it right, so I was pretty pleased with my self about it.
It was interesting to see jollof as the roots to several other southern American dishes. Much like gumbo, these other dishes were influenced by the African slaves and the cuisine they brought with them. The dish it most resembles to me is Charleston Red Rice, though it is also very similar to Jambalaya. In Jambalaya you can see the base of the dish with the Cajun/creole influence in the aromatics and the use of local and available ingredients.
I served the rice with a Ghanaian side salad and roast chicken legs. The kids raved about it all.
1/4 c. canola oil
2 red onions
1 whole jalapeno pepper
1 can tomato puree
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 inch nub of fresh ginger
3 c. parboiled rice
2 bay leaves
1 tsp hot madras curry powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 bouillon cubes (Chicken or vegetable)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp all purpose seasoning
Rinse the rice several times until the water runs clear. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large stock pot and add one of the red onions, chopped. Sauté over medium high heat until starting to get tender. Add the can of tomato paste and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently for 10 minutes. Don't short the time on this step, make sure it get 10 minutes.
While that is cooking add the can of died tomatoes, the garlic cloves, the ginger, and remaining red onion to a blender or food processor and process or blend until smooth.
Add the tomato puree to the pot and cook until bubbly. Add all the seasonings and let cook for 30 minutes over medium low heat to make the stew, stirring every 10 minutes so it doesn't scorch.
Add the rinsed rice to the pot and stir to coat. Add enough water to cover the rice but not too much and stir again.
Cover the top of the pot with plastic wrap, al the way around to seal it shut. Add a lid, or in my case a flying pan, and reduce the heat to as low as it will go. You will cook it this way for 40 minutes to an hour. Make sure and scrape the bottom and stir every 10 minutes and then replace the plastic wrap and the lid. It will look like there isn't enough water but it works. After the rice is tender, cover the pot again with the plastic wrap and the lid and leave for another ten minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
These are both original pictures. The one on the top I took a picture of earlier in the day.
The bottom was the rest of the rice I had made for a baby shower.
Post updated 1/29/2018