Jollof rice is an extremely flavorful rice dish from West Africa. Nigerian and Ghanaian versions are very similar with small differences in flavor. For the most part they are made the same way and you will absolutely love it. This rice dish is perfect for meal prepping or just having a large portion for your family dinners.
Why roast vegetables
A big component in jollof rice is the smoky flavor that people desire. In order to replicate this, we roast the vegetables in the oven until you get a good char. I also use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika to bring it out even more.
Type of rice to use in jollof rice
I use basmati rice for this recipe, but feel free to use jasmine or any other type of rice you have. It shouldn’t make a big difference flavor-wise but the only difference would be in texture. That is because different types of rice absorb a different amount of water. For example, basmati rice would absorb more water than jasmine rice.
Jollof rice cooking method
Roast vegetables which creates a layer of smoky flavor and will become a big part of our flavor base.
Blend roasted vegetables along with canned tomatoes to create our tomato base for the rice.
Cook onions in oil until browned. This deep browning of the onions releases flavors and oils that will be transferred into the rice.
Cook tomato paste and add blended vegetables, let it cook covered for 10 minutes.
Add seasonings and water. The seasonings play a big role in flavoring our rice. I added salt, thyme, chicken bouillon, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, turmeric powder, and white pepper.
Add rice, mix then cover first with tin oil and then cover with the lid on low heat for 20 minutes. The tin foil will ensure there are no gaps between the lid and the pan making sure the rice cooks evenly.
Why canned tomatoes and not fresh tomatoes?
The only reason I used canned tomatoes is because it is more easily repeatable and I wanted to make it as easy as possible. Tomatoes come in different shapes and sizes so it might not be as consistent as using canned whole tomatoes. Unfortunately we miss out on not being able to roast them, but that is something you can decide on for yourself.
Roasted vegetables base
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 scotch bonnet peppers
- 10 cloves garlic
- 400 ml canned whole tomatoes
- ⅓ cup oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- roasted vegetable base
- 1 tbsp chicken boullion powder
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- ½ tbsp salt
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- ½ tbsp onion powder
- ½ tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 3 cups washed basmati rice
- 2¼-2½ cups hot water
- Roast your peppers, onions, and garlic in the oven at the broiler setting for 10 minutes or until nicely browned.1 large red bell pepper, 1 yellow onion, 2 scotch bonnet peppers, 10 cloves garlic
- Add roasted vegetables along with canned tomatoes into a blender and blend until smooth.400 ml canned whole tomatoes
- Into a hot pan, add oil, then cook onions until they start to brown.⅓ cup oil, 1 yellow onion
- Add tomato paste, stir 30 seconds.3 tbsp tomato paste
- Add blended vegetable base then cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.roasted vegetable base
- Wash rice.3 cups washed basmati rice
- After 10 minutes season everything with chicken boullion, thyme, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, turmeric powder, and white pepper.1 tbsp chicken boullion powder, 1 tbsp dried thyme, ½ tbsp salt, ½ tbsp garlic powder, ½ tbsp onion powder, ½ tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp white pepper
- Add hot water and the washed rice. Mix to make sure everything is combined.2¼-2½ cups hot water, 3 cups washed basmati rice
- Cover pan with tin foil first then the lid right on top.
- Keep it cooking over low heat for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked through.
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