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Jollof rice is a West African dish mainly consisting of rice (obviously) cooked in stock with tomatoes, onion, spices and chilli peppers, plus some optional ingredients such as vegetables, meats or fish. It is also called “Benachin”, which means “one pot” in the Wolof language. Although Jollof rice is popular across West Africa, it originated in the historical area of Senegambia (which comprises of the countries around and including Senegal and Gambia today) during the time of the Jollof Empire (1350 – 1549). Nigeria holds Jollof rice as its national dish but it is by no means the only country in West Africa that still enjoys the dish today – other countries include Senegal, Ghana and Sierra Leone.
I know I’m not that far into my 80 Dishes challenge at this point (5% of the way if you’re interested) but Jollof rice is my favourite dishes of the whole food challenge so far. I adore dishes that contain a stodgy carb cooked in stock, especially when combined with a lot of extra ingredients to pack it full of flavour, such as a bit of punch from some chillies! Admittedly I changed a few ingredients in my version of the dish from those used in the original recipe, since I couldn’t actually find all of its ingredients in Sainsbury’s. However, I feel that this didn’t take any flavour away from the dish. Plus, by its very nature, the dish differs from recipe to recipe. In this article I’m going to outline the recipe I developed, but it isn’t something to stick to when you are making Jollof rice!
1. Melt the butter in a pan and fry the chicken thighs on a high heat, turning them over until cooked through. Once the chicken thighs are lightly browned on all sides, lift them out of the pan and put them on a plate to rest.
2. In the same pan, fry the onion slices on a lower heat until they are softened.
3. In a bowl mix together the chopped tomatoes, garlic, ginger and chillies.
4. Add the chopped tomato mixture to the pan containing your onions, stir together and fry for about 2 minutes. Then crumble in the stock cube and add the boiling water.
5. Shred the chicken thighs (keep the skin on) and add to the pan (without the bones), bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
6. Add the rice to the pan and leave to simmer until the rice has completely absorbed the water (15-20 minutes).
7. Once the rice is cooked, put the red and orange pepper slices and the green beans into the pan and lightly stir through. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the peppers and beans soften slightly. Scatter coriander over the dish and serve.
I loved it. That is all.
For the original recipe, search for Jollof Rice by Flora.
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