Smoky Party Jollof Rice!

Everyone's favourite, that's jollof.

I recently saw a TV show where people were asked to choose between jollof and small chops. please, who puts small chops and jollof side by side? They are no mates. Although only about 2 out of 15 people chose small chops over jollof, I still felt it wasn't right. On a second thought, I concluded those two must have had bad jollof rice their very first time. I can't say why it took so long to bring this recipe on the blog but my friend from India asked that I tell her how to cook jollof rice. And that was when it dawned on me that the recipe is not on the blog.

In her words she said, "I really like that red rice you cook in your country."


The Nigerian smoky party Jollof isn't just a favourite for festivities or parties, it is a Sunday special for me. I cook jollof whenever I feel like eating it; who wants to wait to attend a party just to eat jollof rice? Every jollof I cook turns out better than the last one. I always say that the more you cook a certain dish, the better it gets, and that's what happens with my jollof.


For a great party Jollof, you'll need some fundamentals without which your jollof may turn out not so great.

Meat stock/broth (omi Eran) – I really can't cook this dish without meat or chicken broth. Whatever protein you're using (asides fish), use the broth obtained from boiling it.

Bay leaf is important. It adds that distinct flavour and blends well with the other spices.

Smokiness achieved from letting the rice burn slightly. For large cooking, this is achieved with no effort. The jollof rice must Sha burn even if you don't ask for it. But it's good, don't we all love the result?


Butter- I really don't use this; I feel like the flavour it gives interferes with the other spices. So I leave it out.  


Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 40-50 minutes




2 cups of vegetable oil


Medium-sized onion (chopped)


4 cups of rice


3 cups of broth


2 cups boiled blended stew base. I make sure to add some ginger and garlic when blending. You can also use the powdered ones if it's not already in the mix.


2-3 cooking spoons tomato paste


1 teaspoon each of Curry and thyme


1 teaspoon white pepper(optional)


2 bay leaves (a little goes a long way, don't use too much)


salt ­ to taste


2-3 seasoning cubes


Sliced tomatoes and onion for garnish (optional)


2 tablespoons butter (if using)




Place a pot on medium heat and add oil. Let it heat up.


Add the diced onion, fry until fragrant. Add curry, thyme and bay leaves then stir.


Add the tomato paste and fry, keep stirring at intervals to prevent it from burning or steaking to the pot. Let that fry for some 10 minutes, you'll notice it gives that pleasant tomatoes scent.


Add in pepper mixture and continue to fry.


Add seasoning cube and salt. Go easy on that, remember we're going to use meat stock which is also seasoned. Stir, cover and let that fry for another 10-15 minutes.


This may not take up to that if you've boiled the pepper mix well and made it thick. When the oil rises to the top, it’s time for the next step.


Now add the meat stock and mix well. Taste and adjust for Seasoning and/salt.


While some people add the stock to the stew and wait until it dries out, I skip. Instead of adding water later, I like to use the stock. It doesn't water down the taste of the stew base.


Bring this base to a boil then add your washed or parboiled rice. Stir well to combine. You still have a chance to adjust for Seasoning here, so taste to make sure everything is set.


Ensure you do not boil rice for too long when parboiling. Jollof is an infusion meal, you want the rice infused with all that seasoned and flavourful base, so it's best to start the cooking of the rice in the stew base.


 Cook on medium heat while ensuring to seal pot with a sheet of foil before covering with a lid. Let it cook completely, and burn just a little bit for that smokiness.


What the foil does it to trap in steam to cook the rice without having to add too much water which can leave the rice mushy and even somewhat tasteless. Having to add water every now and then will leave you wanting to also augment the Seasoning.


Leave to cook for 30 minutes. Open and check to see if rice is soft enough. If not soft, DO NOT ADD WATER! That's not the way to go. Just seal with foil and lid, turn down heat till very low and leave for a few more minutes. The steam you've trapped in will soften the rice.


To achieve the smokey flavour, increase the heat once rice is done. Let it burn for a few minutes then turn down the heat. Seal in the smoke by leaving the lid on. It is easier to achieve this when cooking in large quantity as there's almost no way to escape the rice being burnt.

Stir in butter, sliced tomatoes and onions if you're using. Let it simmer a little.


Serve with your choice of protein, fried plantains, salad or coleslaw.


Don't forget to share this recipe with your friends 😊.




Smoky Party Jollof Rice! Smoky Party Jollof Rice! Reviewed by Remi on 15:43 Rating: 5


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