I made jollof rice yesterday for the first time, all by myself. Naturally I had to call my mother for some tips because, you know, 28 plus years of living at home wasn’t enough for me to absorb cooking skills. Thank God my mom isn’t bitter that all her attempts to teach me all those years went ignored until now. In fact she was happy to receive my call and wants to get more such calls from me.
(For those of you still in shock, yes: I am almost 32 years old and not skilled at cooking Nigerian food. My oyinbo food repertoire is pretty dismal too.)
Does anyone know what jollof even means? I was explaining how to make this to a colleague and I have no idea where the word jollof comes from or what it means.
For the those interested in my (mom’s) technique, here goes:
I started with diced garlic and onions. I love garlic; I honestly can’t get enough of it. The fact that I’m unmarried allows me to indulge my love of garlic as often as I want to, without having to consider some guy’s feelings about the breath of the woman he’ll be kissing.
I heated some olive oil in a pot. Don’t be fooled by this picture…the oil only coated the bottom; I had to swirl it around to make sure the whole bottom of the pot got coated.
I tossed in the minced yummy garlic (five cloves) and sautÃ©ed it for about a minute.
I added one diced onion.
And not long after, I tossed in the ground beef…
…and browned it
I added some salt, curry, oregano, chili pepper and cayenne pepper to the mix. I should have kept track using a measuring spoon so I’d know exactly how much I added. My mom adds a tiny bit of margarine to the pot too, for flavour.
I then diced up some tomatoes (the ones that come in a can) and tossed them in.
I washed two cups of rice (why is rice so dirty, by the way?)…
…and added it to the pot once its contents had boiled.
And I let it simmer until it was done.
Yum (this is today, as lunch).
All’s well that ends well, right? Well, not completely. I didn’t add enough salt, a common problem with the food I cook. My mom told me to taste it before adding the rice, to make sure the seasoning was enough but the problem is I don’t know how salty or seasoned it should taste in order to be just right when you add in the rice. Now I know it definitely needs to taste saltier than I want it to end up.
So, it was a good first experience, making jollof rice on my own. I’m lucky that I knew what it was supposed to look like, and of course I’m blessed to have my dear mumsy around to get some much needed tips from. I don’t take this for granted.