Jollof, also called ‘Benachin’ meaning one pot in the Jollof language, is a popular dish all over West Africa.
Its base consists of rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onion, salt, and chili pepper, to which optional ingredients can be added such as vegetables, meats, and other spices.
The cooking method is to use groundnut oil to fry the finely-chopped onion, tomatoes and ground pepper (plus any other optional ground or chopped spices), and then to add stock and to cook the rice in this mixture so it takes up all the liquid.
The rice takes on a characteristic red colour from the mixture.
It can be served with cooked meat, chicken, fish or vegetables separately on the plate or they can be stirred in at the end. It is often served with fried plantain and salad.
Optional ingredients can include garlic, peas, thyme, African nutmeg, tea-bush leaves, partminger (a herb of the basil family), curry powder.
There are many variations on Jollof rice throughout West Africa. Many nations there including Ghana and Nigeria lay claim to it.
Jollof rice is also the traditional dish of the Jollof tribe in the Senegambia region.
One often hears that Jollof Rice (or Jolof Rice, Djolof Rice) is a Nigerian dish; indeed it is often made by Nigerians.
However, it has its origins among the Wolof people of Senegal and Gambia who make a rice and fish dish they call Ceebu Jën.
Since Nigeria has the largest population of any African country, it’s safe to say that most of the people who make and eat Jollof Rice are probably Nigerian.
There are many variations of Jollof Rice.
The most common basic ingredients are: rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onion, salt, and red pepper.
Beyond that, nearly any kind of meat, fish, vegetable, or spice can be added.
* Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet.
Stir-fry the chicken (or beef) in the oil until it is browned on all sides
Remove the meat from the oil and set aside
Add the onions, the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and one or two of the flavoring add-ins (if desired) to the skillet and fry the mixture until the onions begin to become tender.
Remove the onion mixture from the skillet and set aside with the meat.
* In a dutch oven or large covered saucepan, bring the broth and two cups of water to a simmer.
Place the meat and onion mixture into the dutch oven and cover.
* In the same skillet used for the meat and onions, stir-fry the tomatoes and one or two of the vegetable add-ins.
Continue frying the mixture until the vegetables are partly cooked, then add them to the meat, onions, and broth in the dutch oven.