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Nigerian Jollof Rice

A party without jollof rice is just a meeting.

Jollof rice is one of the most common West African dishes eaten in the regions of Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, and Liberia. However, each of these West African countries has its variation of this meal. It is inexpensive and easy to make, yet delicious.

Wow! I did not know what I've been missing. Thank you! –Angela Edmond

If I am asked about my favorite foods, undoubtedly jollof rice is mentioned. It is my childhood top pick. This incredibly flavorful rice dish is one to learn and keep in your repertoire. This recipe focuses on the delicious flavor embedded in the rice. So, no meat/fish are added in an effort to maintain purity.

Nigerian Jollof Rice


  • 8 oz whole peeled tomatoes, canned or 3 Roma tomatoes, fresh

  • 3 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded & chopped

  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, stemmed, seeded & chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, divided

  • 1 in ginger

  • 4 Tbs red palm oil

  • 2 cups brown basmati rice, parboiled

  • 2 red onions, divided

  • 2 Tbs tomato paste

  • 1 tsp turmeric, ground

  • 1 tsp liquid smoke

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 Tbs thyme, dried

  • 2 bay leaf

  • 2 cup vegetable broth



  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Thinly slice one of the red onions and set aside.


  1. Add bell pepper, tomatoes, garlic cloves, Maggie cubes, ginger and one red onion to a high-speed blender and puree until smooth.

  2. Heat palm oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and tomato paste to the oil and simmer until the onions are translucent and the tomato paste darkens in color.

  3. Add the blended tomato mixture to the pan and bring to a simmer.

  4. Reduce heat to medium, cover with lid and simmer until the sauce is reduced by a third.

  5. Add salt to taste, thyme, smoked paprika, liquid smoke and turmeric to the reduction.

  6. With reduced sauce at a simmer, add the rice, stock and bay leaf to pan bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid.

  7. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until rice is just tender, ~25 minutes. Remove the dutch oven from the oven and let it sit on the stovetop covered for 15 minutes.

  8. Remove lid and bay leaf. Fluff rice with a fork and adjust seasoning if necessary.

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