Jollof rice is a dish commonly enjoyed across most of Western Africa. Made using basmati rice combined with tomatoes and chilli, the rice is a deep red colour and depending on the region, often prepared using a variety of meats, fish and vegetables. Said to have originally come from the Senegambia region, jollof has since spread throughout western Africa and if you’re lucky enough to visit, the jollof varies from region to region. This popular daily staple can most commonly be found in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. It is often seen cooking in large pots on the street, smoke rising from vendors who serve it with leaf (salad) or pear (avocado). Communal bowls are often shared amongst families and always enjoyed at special occasions and social events.
5 large red tomatoes, chopped
1 large red capsicum, seeds removed and diced
1 generous pinch of salt
1 tbs coconut oil for frying
1 long red chilli, chopped
1 long green chilli, chopped
1 brown onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbs cayenne pepper
1 ½ tsp all spice powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbs tamari or soy sauce
2 bay leaves
Okra, approx 24 leaves
1 ½ cups brown Basmati rice
1 ½ cups water
1 tbs cumin seeds, toasted
Place tomatoes and capsicum into a food processor and blend to liquid, then season to taste with salt.
Place oil, garlic, chilli and onion into a large sized pot (with lid) and cook until the onions are translucent and a little brown in colour.
Add the tomato liquid, followed by the spices, tamari and bay leaves.
Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Combine liquid over heat with the rice, okra and water.
Give everything a good stir through and place the lid on the pot. Leave to simmer on a very low temperature for 30-40 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Place cumin seeds in a small frying pan, swirl around and dry cook until fragrant.
When the rice is cooked to your liking, sprinkle the cumin seeds over the rice and serve.
RECIPES by JESSICA JOHNSON, Gal Dente
STYLING by Gal Dente
West African wax printed garments and table cloth by YEVU Clothing