Thank you for your comments on my first attempt to make jollof rice on my own. Growing up,
wemy mom always prepared jollof rice with meat in it. Ground beef is the meat of choice most times, and whole pieces of chicken (drumsticks, thigh or breast) are used sometimes. However, thinking back to all the times I enjoyed jollof rice in Nigeria, jollof was cooked without meat, and a piece of chicken or goat meat or beef would added to the rice when serving it. The jollof I ate in Nigeria had a special taste to it that I LOVE but could never dream of being able to recreate here. Maybe the secret to that taste is cooking it over a fire? I bet that’s it! I’m not saying all Nigerians in Nigeria cook over a fire, just that my family does when cooking jollof rice for a whole bunch of people (dozens, hundreds).
I think the way they make jollof in Nigeria (and how most of the commenters make it) uses tomato paste or sort of tomato base to give the rice more of a red colour. If you have your recipe handy, or know how I can get that kind of scorched taste that the jollof I had in Nigeria has, do feel free to share it in the comments.
One of my colleagues who reads this blog (Hi Gen!) was kind enough to answer my question about why rice is not dirty. Apparently it’s not dirt per se that I’m washing off; it’s starch. If you like your rice sticky, don’t rinse it so much.