I wrote about Coconut Rice many moons ago. On the post, I remember writing about my disagreement with using coconut in Jollof rice because the flavour of the Coconut gets lost amongst the bold flavours of pepper and the powerhouse spices used in Jollof Rice. A couple of readers, didn’t share in that ideology and kept telling me to try it out for myself and see. Well, for Easter Sunday, try it out I did and I was correct. Coconut does add something extra to the overall taste of the Jollof rice, but in the sense that you will smell and taste Coconut in the rice on first bite, I humbly stick with my initial stance, but, you know with me, there will come a but, and by but, I mean there is a way around this. If I didn’t sleep cook this Jollof Rice it would have occurred to me way before I was almost done cooking the rice, but oh well, I will pass on the tips to you guys regardless. You guys, should please try it out and let me know.
I had a massive cleanup the 2 days preceding Easter, I was fagged out by Sunday. My neighbour and I planned to do a potluck Easter Sunday Lunch, and my contribution was Coconut Jollof Rice and Coleslaw. I told myself I would take a 30minute quick nap on the sofa, and resume cooking. Oh dear, I woke up 3 hours later, flew to the kitchen and started cooking. By this time it was coming on 3pm, so Lunch was over. My brain wasn’t actively registering what I was doing, I was just cooking by rote routine. If not for experience, my massive pot of Jollof Rice would have been a disaster. A huge soggy mess, which I quickly had to shake off the cobwebs from my eyes and fix it. Scooping out liquid from the rice before it cooked through. Two things, I picked up when my faculties were with me, were this:
- To get that Coconut flavour in your Jollof Rice, do the pre boiling of the rice entirely with Coconut Milk or at least, in a ratio of 3:1 with water. To think, I had 2 spare cans of Coconut MIlk at home, my sleepy self thought one can would be enough.
- #Tip2: This I picked up quite coincidentally when I was reheating the rice to take to Funmi’s. With Party Jollof Rice, my recipe says let it burn right? With Coconut Jollof Rice, double that time. Trust Me. You know why? Think Coconut Candy, think Baba Dudu, think Shuku Shuku (coconut rock cookie). It still hasn’t sunk in yet? Okay, okay, it is the caramelisation of the Coconut. Still don’t get it? The longer Coconut gets to interact with heat, with some “burning” involved, the stronger its flavour. Coconut has a very strange reaction with heat. At the beginning of cooking, you will smell and taste it without question. Midway through cooking, you almost lose it, with further cooking, if many ingredients are involved, it disappears completely. It was when I was re-heating the Coconut Rice for dinner at Funmi’s that I actually started to smell it when the rice was burning. My friend who came around after I cooked the Jollof Rice didn’t notice the Coconut in it. The entire flat was smelling of Party Jollof rice. It was after I told her to please re-heat the Jollof Rice while I take a shower that she said Dunni huh? Is there Coconut in that Jollof Rice? BOOM!!!!
I tested my theory again while re-heating the small bit of rice I used to take plating pictures. I let it burn, and voila, I could smell and taste caramelised Coconut in the Jollof Rice. It does truly add that something special to your party Jollof Rice. Here’s how
You will need
Easy Cook Rice
Tatashe – red bell pepper
Tomato paste or Tomato puree – I used the Derica Brand
Chopped Runner beans – green beans
Vegetable Oil – I used sunflower oil
1. As per usual. Blend your pepper with enough ginger, that you can smell it, boil your pepper, heat up oil in a pot, add chopped onions, curry powder and thyme. Fry the onions till it softens, add the reduced pepper and tomato paste Fry till it thickens. Add enough beef stock, and let it boil and bubble away. Adjust for salt and seasoning cubes.
this time, I exclusively used my homemade seasoning cubes. To know how I made the seasoning cubes, click HERE
2. While the pepper is doing its thing, proceed to washing the rice with cold water. Wash and wash and wash with cold water, until the water runs clear. Any cloudiness, still indicates the presence of excess starch. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: because this is coconut jollof rice, I am washing the rice first, as I am boiling the rice with coconut. Ordinarily, for Party Jollof Rice, I wash the rice after it has cooked to al dente.
Now, you have your well washed rice, pour into a pot and cover the top with enough coconut milk just to barely cover the rice. Remember, this is important, because you are not cooking the rice all through. Pepper sauce is still coming
see what I mean about the water/coconut milk level. Ignore the runner beans in the image. This was me sleep cooking. I was transposing my mother’s method of cooking runner beans with the rice for fried rice. Adding runner beans now, is way too early.
3. Once the rice has cooked al dente i.e. cooked but still firm, pour in the pepper sauce, and stir. Leave it to cook. Midway in, add the carrots and runner beans, adjust for salt and seasoning if necessary. Sorry, no picture here. If you need a visual reminder, click on my party Jollof rice recipe HERE.
4. With time, you would notice the rice grains have absorbed the pepper sauce, and is cooking along nicely, but not quite there yet i.e. totally softened. If you have no more liquid peeking out, just grab foil paper, place over the rice, tuck it in nicely and let it cook, plus burn. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: As it cooks through plus you letting it burn, stir every few minutes or so. This is to let the caramelising coconut flavour, emanating from the bottom of the pot, mix well with the contents of the top. You have to repeat this stirring cycle quite a number of times. You will start to smell the coconut yourself by the 2nd or third stirring cycle.
5. Add in sliced onions and tomatoes. Give another final stir and lower the heat. Keep the pot there, even till you serve. Sorry, you will have a whole lot of washing to do afterwards, but you will get that Coconut flavour you need.
…and that’s your Coconut Jollof Rice. I garnished with round spring onions and carrots
Served in a Coconut Shell, just completes the look
For the Peppered Chicken, I made it on easy street. I just tossed the grilled chicken into the leftover pepper sauce for the Jollof rice. Added a little water, stirred, lowered the heat and let it combine. For Garnish, I threw in roughly chopped tatashe (red bell pepper) and onions.
For the Coleslaw, easy peasy too. Shredded and grated cabbage and carrots in the food processor. Thank you Mr Kenwood. It took all of 2 minutes.
Combined with mayonnaise, salad cream and a little bit of sugar. Stirred around and that’s it.