GNG cooks jollof rice

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 sautéed 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.

28 thoughts on “GNG cooks jollof rice

  1. Looks like a success to me for your first attempt. Salt is something that most times can be added at the end without compromising the total meal. I hope you enjoyed!

  2. You cook it differently than i do. I've never used ground beef also. My classmate from the Gambia told me jollof is the name of a tribe in Gambia. It actually came up when we were talking about Jollof rice and she was teasing Nigerians that we have no clue about the origin of jollof rice.

  3. Well, Well, Well! Look who cooked a Naija dish! Good Job girl, it looks absolutely yummy!

  4. First time I’m seeing the ground beef version too. Must’ve been yummy :o)
    Welldone. Yes! you’re blessed your mum is only a phone call away.

  5. GNG you're certainly not alone. At 26, my repertoire of Nigerian recipes is woefully lacking. The thing is naija dishes can be a bit "challenging," for someone who has been mostly veganish-vegetarian all her life :(

    Anyway, well done. That attempt definitely looks successful, hope it was scrumptious!.

  6. definitely a different spin on making jollof, this isnt how i know, but looks yummy id def try yours out. I love cooking, and being here in sch and living alone has perfected my skills am trying out new recipes and loving them

  7. more like a jollof rice casserole, yum!
    how are u dear? hope all is well with the family too.
    i am sure u' ready for some nice weather after the kind of winter we've had.

  8. mmmm I love jollof rice. I've tried to explain to others what it is – it's like the Nigerian/African version of risotto. That'll get people to understand. It looks yummy! I'm hungry now…tip with the salt/flavour, why not add a cube of "maggi" – boulion / stock ? Keep cooking hun, soon it'll become natural to ya :-)

  9. You can add some frozen mixed vegetables getting to the end of the cooking process. It'll add a bit of colour to it.

  10. Never used ground beef, but I've certainly added some frozen mixed veggies. I might add a little ground beef when next I do. Congrats on your first try. Lol.

  11. This is def not the traditional jollof rice but….
    Here is my recipe :)
    Pepper Mix( I big tin of whole tomatoes, 2 red bell peppers, 2 habanero, 1 Large Onion) Blend
    2 cups of rice
    1 big spoon of butter(optional) extra flavor
    2 big spoons of oil
    salt, maggi, thyme,garlic, curry, red pepper flakes, ginger, oregano, bay leaves(3)
    In a pot, sautee, onions and garlic with butter and oil
    Add blended pepper mix (about 6 big spoons or about half your mixture), all seasonings and bay leaves and let it fry for about 15 mins
    Add your rice and let it mix with the pepper for about 3 mins
    Add about 1 1/2 -2 cups of water (just enough to cover the rice)
    Stir the rice to make sure it is well mixed
    Cover and let it cook for about 20 minutes
    When it is almost done, add sliced onions and cover the lid to let it cook
    Stir the onions in with the rice
    Very easy
    Good luck =)

  12. Looks nice.. my Mum usually fries the tomatoes. I also wanted to comment on the minced beef– I cooked something that looked just like that and kept wondering to myself– why is this meat shaped so funny? (dont mind me, just trying to get used to this version of minced meat). How long did you cook it for, tho? I kept mine on the fire for a long time bcause I was not totally convinced that it was done and the flavour was a bit different from what I know. Thanks!

  13. Hey!

    I tried to make jollof rice so many times and so many times it was an #epicfail

    then I got the recipe from a girl from facebook and she put that she uses this jollof seasoning from the supermarket. This seasoning was the end to all my problems. It wasn't that my jollof tasted bad before it just didn't have THAT jollof taste and this seasoning did it. I don't know if you'd find it over in Canada but its worth looking:

  14. This looks like fried rice na. A very rich yummy one for that matter*wink! Good job!

    My classification is basedon color: yellow or yellowish-green rice is fried, red is jollof…lol

  15. Cooking jollof rice with ground beef is an abomination! I hate it when Nigerians bastardize the authentic Nigerian cuisine.

  16. I have been begging so many africans to teach me how to make it and no one will. Not even for money. why is that? i promised myself i'll never eat jollof rice or any other african dish ever again. the only way i'll eat is if they are going to cook enough to last me for six months, or teach me how to make it. I got hooked and I hate that because the food is so damn good.

  17. Looks delicious Chef GNG, and as long as it’s spicy, it’s good enough for me!
    I haven’t used ground beef either but I’m open for experimenting!

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