XO

The Kitchen Table: Jollof Rice and Chicken. Amen.

When it comes to food, I’m relatively easy- give me rice any day. I love rice, I eat rice every single day of my life. No lie. The day I don’t eat rice is the day something is wrong with me. As a child I couldn’t wait to grow up and not abide by my parents household rule of having a balanced diet which to this day includes, fruits and vegetables. I couldn’t wait to eat rice any day or everyday of the week; because of me we had a food time table growing up and it only allowed for rice three days in the week and I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to defile that rule; to be honest that was probably my whole premise of growing up- to eat rice all the time… lol. Whether eating out or eating in, rice is my go to food. Hence I love oriental cuisines; Thai or Chinese especially.

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I can sell my soul for a delicious pot of rice. Pot of jollof rice, and my life is yours. FACT.

Its a good thing I can make it isn’t it.

The origin of Jollof rice is a subject of much dispute amongst Africans, it is thought to have originated from the Wolof tribe of Senegal and The Gambia, who also refer to it as Benachin, meaning one pot- that’s all you need to cook it. Besides the Senegambia region, indigenous Togolese claim it, Nigerians claim it, Ghanians claim it…West Africa claims this dish. It is the region it is most popular in. There are many methods of cooking jollof rice, it simply depends on what floats your boat. I’m going to share mine with you.

Ingredients-

Jollof Rice

  • Easy cook rice (you can use basmati but I find it too soggy for jollof because basmati is a particular kind of rice so easy cook works best for me.)
  • Tomatoes- fresh or tinned
  • Scotch Bonnet pepper (2- if you are using three tins of plum tomatoes or 1 for two tins because it is very hot)
  • Dry cray fish- (the secret weapon to give it that flavour) you can buy this in any African food store
  • 3 Red Onions
  • Tomato purée paste
  • 1 or 1 1/2 cups of vegetable or sunflower oil
  • Maggi cubes
  • Salt

Chicken

Isn’t chicken the best thing to ever happen to mankind?!! Isn’t it just?!! All you need is a packet of drumsticks from any supermarket.

  • wash it properly under hot water, peeling away any yuck. (I like the skin on mine but if you prefer yours skinless peel away the skin),
  • add salt to your liking, maggie cubes, onions
  • a helping of Dunn’s  River All Purpose Seasoning. Done. I am not a fan of over seasoning meats especially, so these are my absolute essentials and they work every time.
  • Cover with a foil and put in the fridge for about twenty minutes.

Preparation-

  • Wash the rice clean with hot water, so its almost parboiled. Drain all the water from it and leave to one side.
  • Blend the two onions, two tins of tomatoes and one scotch bonnet together in a blender
  • dice one whole onion into little bits (yes you’ll cry because onions are so evil but deal with it)
  • heat the vegetable oil in a big pot over medium heat. Leave for about two minutes before adding half of the diced onions and the puree. The purée helps temper the spiciness of the food. Fry this for about sixty seconds or until the onions are slightly brown, turning occasionally to evenly spread the puree around.
  • Pour in the blended pepper, tomatoes and onions and leave to fry until well done. (There will be very little foam on it)
  • Whilst the pepper is frying, wrap the grill rack with foil and coat with oil put the seasoned chicken on the grill (be sure to coat the chicken with oil as well to prevent it from burning.)
  • Once the pepper is properly fried, it should be a little dry, add the maggi cubes, salt and crayfish and two cups of water. Bring to a boil.
  • Add in the rice to the boiling pepper, by now the flavour would have mixed well with the pepper, you can smell it.
  • Note- if you put the rice in and its more than the pepper add a little more water to it and cover it.
  • Let it cook for about twenty minutes before checking for the softness of the rice, you do not want it too soft, you want it aldente. Once its cooked to your liking, use a wooden ladle to mix it together until it is perfectly red-orange all over. Letting the rice burn a little, just a little I find is best because of the spicy nutty flavour… but that’s just me.
  • Check on the chicken and keep turning until well done. Cut one piece up to know its done all the way to the inside.
  • Serve and enjoy…

Bon Apetit!