Jollof Rice

Jollof rice is a pleasantly delicious one pot dish prepared with a blend of tomato sauce, red chili pepper, onion, nutmeg, ginger, assorted meat if available, and rice. It is a truly prestigious food eaten both as regular meals at home and during festivities in Africa.

Once cooked, it has a red orange colour, and is truly satisfying. It can be served with salad, dodo or kelewele (fried ripe plantain) or just eaten with meat or fish. Nutritious? That is an understatement.

While the true origin of jollof rice remains a matter of debate depending on who you speak to, it is safe to say that this meal is very popular amongst Nigerians,  Gambians, Liberians, Ghanaians and indeed the whole of West Africa. If you are thinking of an African food or meal item to prepare for an African occasion, this is it. Your guest will love you for it.

You do not need to take a cheap flight to Lagos or travel to Kumasi to get a satisfying plate of jollof.

You can prepare this lovely dish wherever you are in the world. It is easy. It is fast. Just follow this easy recipe. 

Ingredients used in cooking vary from one ethnic group to the other. Or even from one individual to the next. However, the basic ingredients besides the rice, is the tomato and red bell peppers which gives the jollof rice its distinct colour. 

Jollof rice

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 40min

Cooking Time: 40min


  • 3 Cups of long grain rice
  • 1/4 cup of salted butter
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 Large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Habanero pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 Large bell peppers (tatashe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups of stock or water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Transfer the habanero and bell peppers along with the tomatoes to a blender or food processor and blend to a puree. Then, set aside.

measure out your spices and herbs and set aside.

Place a heavy based pot on your stove and heat it up over medium heat.

Melt the butter and pour in the oil. 

Fry the onion in the oil for about 8-10 minutes over medium heat.

Pour in the blended tomato mixture, the herbs and spices into the pot with the fried onion and allow to cook without the lid for about 15-20.

While the the tomato mixture is cooking wash the rice until water runs clear, drain and stir in rice with the stock or water. Do this after previous step.

Allow rice to cook with the pot covered, do not stir in the first 25-30 minutes of cooking on medium low heat. Then check to see if rice has started sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir with a a wooden spoon. As wooden spoons would not scrape the burnt part at the bottom.

Check for salt and pepper and adjust.

Allow to cook until rice absorbs all the liquid making sure you check every 5-8 minutes stirring to prevent burning. Add more water if rice is not cooked to your desired texture. Stir often until it is cooked.

Note: it is very common to use stock cubes, knorr and maggi.  I no longer use them in my jollof rice but use them if you want to when you add your spices. Usually for this quantity 1-2 stock cubes. My preferred option is to use homemade stock when I add the rice.

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