Yesterday, I was going to visit a dear friend of mine, and I know that her son’s favourite food is Jollof rice. Aunty Dunni duties therefore dictate that I must bring along with me some Jollof rice for him. It important to note that this is the first time I am making Jollof Rice after my mum’s visit. I just replicated all her hints and tips and I produced a delicious pot of Jollof rice, with the fab party colour, not a single soggy grain of rice in sight thankfully, and a delicious taste. The only negative was that I used the stock from the Jerk Chicken that I prepared on that day, which made it too spicy for a child, but fine for adults. I was a little stumped about it, but white rice and blended tomatoes to the rescue. A quick 5 minutes adjustment and it was mild enough for him to eat.
1. Wash the rice properly with cold water, and let out as much starch as you can till the water is clear. You can choose to reverse this process and boil first till al dente then wash out the starch, it is up to you.
2. While the rice is boiling, proceed to make the pepper base. One thing of note mummy said to me when she was around was this. Yes tomato paste is needed for the orange colour, but it should only assist in the process and not be the major ingredient. i.e. if you use too much tomato paste, all in a bid to get the orange colour, the fried stew will taste sour and the colour you will end up with will be a shocking shade of orange, and not the mild pleasant to the eye type that is served at parties.
for this pot of jollof rice, i used 3 pieces of tomatoes, one onion, 2 large red bell peppers, and a big chunk of ginger. Mummy said, the blended pepper should have a deep red colour, not the pale red colour that you normally use for regular stew which is full of tomatoes. I used the same method as the recipe i had posted earlier. i.e chop onions, fry in the oil, add the blended pepper, beef/chicken stock, bay leaves, tomato puree/paste, curry, thyme, white pepper and fry. For this pot I used half of a 210g tin of DeRica.
I took this shot under low light to demonstrate what you should not end up with. See how really dark red this tomato base is? If yours looks like this under good lighting, chances are that you used too much tomato paste. Not to to worry, just blend 2 or 3 pieces of tomatoes, add to the pot and fry.
While boiling the rice, just add water that is enough to top it. You are boiling the rice to be al dente, not to completely cook it. The grains in the picture below were al dente. The rice was not completely cooked, but not hard either. Watch your rice closely while it boils, if it gets soft before you add the pepper base, the flavours won’t combine properly
After running cold water into the pot to stop the cooking process, I titled the pot to strain out the hot water, then I added all the pepper base and left it to cook. See picture below, see how much liquid is left in the pot. This is just enough to cook the rice. You really have to be careful here. When you add the pepper base, just add a little water, like the picture below. I reasoned with 2 knorr chicken cubes and a little salt
a good way of gauging is to check the bubbles emanating from the pot, you should still be able to see the rice, and patches of water floating on top. If all you can see is the pepper stock floating and no rice, just tilt the pot a little and decant some of that water. You may end up needing it for top up, or you may not. Don’t take the chance and end up with soggy rice. To get this, I actually decanted some water. Just a little, but thank goodness I did otherwise the rice would have been soggy.
a few minutes later, this is what I got. Gorgeous Jollof rice in colour, taste and consistency. Not a single soggy grain in sight.
For added flavour, just like in parties, add onion rings and tomatoes, turn the rice with a wooden spoon and let the steam cook the veggies. Also leave it on the heat for it to burn a little, to release the smokey party flavour. While it is burning, carefully turn with a wooden spoon to circulate the smokey flavour. Careful here, so you not use the wooden spoon to mash the rice grains. See the picture below, that is how much i let it burn
……………and there you have it. Beautiful Jollof rice.
Don’t you just want to eat that straight from the screen. Hehehehe. I remember calling my Mum yesterday and hailing her. The student has learnt very well from the Master