Are you ready for the absolute best smokey Nigerian party Jollof recipe? Say yes, say yes. This recipe is just in time for the festive season. If you are a Jollof devotee like myself, you know more than anything, good party Jollof is defined by the Smokey characteristics it possess. Subtle smokiness that comes from the use of firewood and local cast iron pots called koko-irin. For those who do it well, the rice is never parboiled. Why? Good Jollof is a game of time, the more time the rice spends in the sauce the more flavorful it is.
Another defining characteristic is “oneness” of the grains. Never mushy, each grain stands at complete attention without being dry. This is achieved by using just the right amount of broth (liquid) and cooking over low heat.
Fundamentals of great party Jollof is accumulation of several factors including
- Meat stock (omi Eran) – Party Jollof is never cooked with water. Good quality homemade meat broth is required.
- Bay leaf: This is a must. It completes the spice trio of Curry, thyme and white pepper.
- Quality thyme: A good quality thyme lends itself well to party Jollof. Splurge on a good brand or even fresh thyme if you can find it.
- Smoke: traditionally this is achieved because of firewood cooking. It can also be achieved stove-top through a controlled burn. It’s important to remember that the smokiness should be subtle without assaulting your palate
- Butter: yes yes yes. Don’t ask questions, just add it.
- Used oil: Because Jollof is often prepared alongside stewed meat, oil that has been used to fry meat is often used instead of fresh oil. This lends to the smokiness of the rice.
Now are you ready for my recipe?
- 2/3 cup oil
- small onion (chopped)
- 4 cups rice
- 4 cups broth (stock, omieran)
- 2 cup parboiled blended stew base*
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- teaspoon each (curry, thyme, white pepper)
- 2 bay leaves
- salt to taste
- Seasoning cube 2-3 cubes
- Sliced tomato and onion (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Place a pot on medium heat, heat up oil
- Add in sliced onion. Fry until slightly browned. Add in spices and bay leaf. Stir
- Add in tomato paste. Stir fry. Cover and cook for 2-3 mins
- Add in pepper mixture. Stir-Fry. Cover and cook 5 mins
- Add in stock, seasoning cube and salt. Stir. Cover and simmer for 15 mins. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Stir in drained washed rice. Reduce heat to medium low (2-3 on marked cooker). Seal pot with foil then cover with lead.
- Leave to cook for 30 mins. No need to stir or open. LET IT GO
- Stir in butter, sliced tomatoes and onions. Increase heat to high (This is where the smokiness happen). Leave for 5-8 minutes or just until you can smell the burn. Turn off heat. Leave to rest covered for 10 minutes before serving.