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6 Jollof Rice Variants From 6 West African Nations

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Jollof is a rice dish whose popularity echoes around West and Central Africa. Made with long-grain rice, it features a blend of vegetables, meat, and spices. Some Jollof rice variants are not complete without the addition of different fish varieties. However, that is not to say that it is a standard. The ingredients and preparation methods vary from one region to another.

Jollof is so named because of the Wolof people who inhabit Senegal. Jollof is mainly popular in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Liberia, Cameroon, and The Gambia. The popularity of this dish in Ghana and Nigeria has led to Jollof wars which seek to show which region has superior culinary skills. For many years, the two countries have been locked in a competitive duel over whose Jollof tastes better. The dish is highly nutritious because it’s made with allnatural and organic ingredients.

Who invented Jollof?

Jollof traces its origin to the SenegalGambia region where it was enjoyed among the Wolof people. They call it Benachin. The dish (or its variations) traveled through the West African region and sub-Saharan Africa. However, the recipe has evolved as people continue to experiment with recipes. This makes it challenging for any ethnic group to say that they really own or invented Jollof.

Is Jollof rice healthy?

Jollof is the healthiest rice to eat because it is cooked with a very healthy sauce and has the lowest calorie count of all rice meals. Jollof rice has 284 calories in total which is a healthy number of calories to take in from a meal. Whole grain rice is also a good source of Folate (vitamin B) which ensures that the body cells are working properly.

Who has better Jollof rice?

Nigerians use longgrain rice, which is sturdier, to make their Jollof. Long grain rice also provides a pleasing flavor to the palate. Ghanaians, on the other hand, use a more aromatic Basmati rice which also has its unique flavor. Your pick of the best Jollof will depend on your taste preference. This is because there are almost endless varieties of Jollof rice from different countries cooked with slightly different recipes. Obviously, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison“, and you never know what’s going to tickle your taste buds and win over your little food heart.

Which Jollof rice is better—Ghanaian or Nigerian?

Nigeria and Ghana both make phenomenal Jollof. However, the main difference is the type of rice used. Nigerians, as mentioned above, use longgrain rice while Ghanaians use aromatic Basmati rice. The Jollof war has caused a sensational fuss on social media, but the real judge of the best Jollof is you.

How do you fix mushy Jollof rice?

If your jollof rice is soggy, you should place it in a cool place like an open fridge or an oven to completely dry it off. However, if the rice is only a little bit sticky, rinse it under cool water and separate the grains with your fingers. If your jollof rice is overly mushy, the best move to take is to start over. Make another bunch and use the mushy rice for a different purpose.

Six Jollof Rice Variations From 6 West African Nations

#1: Ghanaian Jollof rice by Rice Today

Jollof rice is a popular dish generally served on special occasions in many West African countries, especially in Ghana and Nigeria. It is a favorite meal of children in particular, and is often the main dish on the menu of children’s parties.

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Ghanaian Jollof rice by rice today

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time15 minsCook Time1 hr 30 minsTotal Time1 hr 45 mins

Jollof rice dish, as prepared in Ghana, has lots of vegetables as well as meat, according to Dr. John Manful, grain quality scientist at Africa Rice Center, making it a complete meal in itself.

 1 kg boneless beef cut into small pieces
 200 g tomato paste
 5 cups water or stock
 10 green beanscut into pieces 5 cm long
 6 large fresh tomatoeschopped or blended
 4 carrotspeeled and chopped
 2 onionschopped
 1 large bell peppercut into pieces
 6 tbsp cooking oil
 saltto taste
 Spices(optional)

Ingredients

 1 kg boneless beef cut into small pieces
 200 g tomato paste
 5 cups water or stock
 10 green beanscut into pieces 5 cm long
 6 large fresh tomatoeschopped or blended
 4 carrotspeeled and chopped
 2 onionschopped
 1 large bell peppercut into pieces
 6 tbsp cooking oil
 saltto taste
 Spices(optional)
Ghanaian Jollof rice by Rice Today

#2: Best Nigerian party Jollof you can’t resist by Eleanor’s dish

Jollof rice is a very common dish prepared in many African countries and each recipe differs depending on the nation. I specifically prepare the Nigerian party jollof rice which I still feel is one of the best recipes out there

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Nigerian party Jollof rice

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time15 minsCook Time1 hrTotal Time1 hr 15 mins

Party jollof rice is commonly the most sort after type of rice, because of its very unique taste. Most people feel the unique taste comes from preparation using firewood, but that isn’t always necessarily the case.

 4 tbsp Canola oil
 1 tbsp butter
 14.50 oz can of diced (no salt) Hunts tomatoI seriously suggest using this brand If you decide to buy canned or 4 Fresh Tomatoes
 2 red bell peppers(tatashe)
 4 Habanero pepper (scotch bonnet)(put as much or as little as you want, depending on how spicy you want your rice)
 2 cups chicken stock
SPICES
 ½ tsp black pepper
 ½ tsp White Pepper
 3 Single Bay leaves
 ½ tsp curry powder
 ¼ tsp Ginger
 ½ tsp thyme leaves

Ingredients

 4 tbsp Canola oil
 1 tbsp butter
 14.50 oz can of diced (no salt) Hunts tomatoI seriously suggest using this brand If you decide to buy canned or 4 Fresh Tomatoes
 2 red bell peppers(tatashe)
 4 Habanero pepper (scotch bonnet)(put as much or as little as you want, depending on how spicy you want your rice)
 2 cups chicken stock
SPICES
 ½ tsp black pepper
 ½ tsp White Pepper
 3 Single Bay leaves
 ½ tsp curry powder
 ¼ tsp Ginger
 ½ tsp thyme leaves
Best Nigerian Party Jollof Rice You Can’t Resist by Eleanor’s Dish

#3: The Best Cameroonian Jollof rice by Kewan Blogs

Jollof rice is a staple in most West African countries, Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, and Gambia. Well, Jollof rice clearly originated from Senegal but spread across Africa with each country having its unique touch to the dish. If you ask me, after eating the different variations, Cameroonian jollof rice stands out! One thing unites the different recipes, no matter the ingredients you use, the end product should be red.

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Yields4 Servings
Prep Time10 minsCook Time30 minsTotal Time40 mins

So this is the key ingredient that gave me the best Cameroonian jollof rice "smoked paprika!" I wanted a spice that will give me the effect of rice cooked on a local firewood kitchen like my mom’s and this little red spice did a great job.

Now that said, let’s get to the cooking:

 1 large onion
 1 ginger stump
 ½ kg chicken
 1 bell pepper(optional)
 2 bay leaves
 ¼ tsp white pepper
  cup vegetable oil
 salt to taste
 1 cup carrots and green pea mix

 

Ingredients

 1 large onion
 1 ginger stump
 ½ kg chicken
 1 bell pepper(optional)
 2 bay leaves
 ¼ tsp white pepper
  cup vegetable oil
 salt to taste
 1 cup carrots and green pea mix
The Best Cameroonian Jollof Rice by Kewan Blogs

#4: Thieboudienne Senegalese Jollof and fish by Yummy medley

As a Nigerian myself, I thought that nothing could rival Nigerian food in this spot, but after I tasted the National dish of Senegal, Thieboudienne (also ceebu jen or thiebou dieune), there was a mini war for my food heart. Thieboudienne is a mouth watering rice and fish dish that is like nothing I had before.

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Thieboudienne-Senegalese Jollof Rice and Fish

Yields8 Servings
Prep Time20 minsCook Time40 minsTotal Time1 hr

In this thieboudienne recipe, I used broken jasmine which is what is called for traditionally, but you could use regular jasmine rice. If you have access to an Asian market, you can find broken jasmine rice labeled as jasmine rice bits. Also, feel free to use any type of fish that you can easily find. I used blue snapper fish. You may use any vegetable of your preference, I used sweet potatoes, eggplants, carrots, bell peppers and cabbage. As a final note, preparing thieboudienne is quite the labor of love, so I will save it for special occasions.

Enjoy my recipe!

The Fish
  A handful of parsley about a heaping cup
 2.50 lbs blue snapper fish preferably cut into fish steaks or any white fish of your choice
 1 tsp salt
The Rice
 1 sweet potato
 1 purple eggplant
 4 carrotsI used orange purple and yellow carrots
 ½ head of cabbage
 2 bell peppers
For the sauce
 1 cup tomato paste
 1 large onions sliced
 3 cloves of garlichttps://amzn.to/3pCkoqJ
 2 scotch bonnet/ habanero peppers I used green scotch bonnets, the color doesn’t really matter
 salt to taste

Thieboudienne (Senegalese Jollof Rice and Fish) served on plate on table

Ingredients

The Fish
  A handful of parsley about a heaping cup
 2.50 lbs blue snapper fish preferably cut into fish steaks or any white fish of your choice
 1 tsp salt
The Rice
 1 sweet potato
 1 purple eggplant
 4 carrotsI used orange purple and yellow carrots
 ½ head of cabbage
 2 bell peppers
For the sauce
 1 cup tomato paste
 1 large onions sliced
 3 cloves of garlichttps://amzn.to/3pCkoqJ
 2 scotch bonnet/ habanero peppers I used green scotch bonnets, the color doesn’t really matter
 salt to taste
Thieboudienne: Senegalese Jollof Rice and Fish by Yummy Medley

#5: Benachin: Gambian Jollof rice by global food book

Benachin rice "jollof rice" is also a very healthy meal and makes a perfect lunch. I know that there are millions of benachin rice "jollof rice" recipes out there but this particular recipe is just okay for me as well as very easy to adopt.

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Benachin Rice

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time10 minsCook Time35 minsTotal Time45 mins

Benachin also known as Jollof rice is a popular West African rice dish notable for it's characteristic colourful reddish colour with super delicious taste. History has it that benachin rice 'jollof rice', originated from the Wolof region of the Senegambia region before spreading to the entire West Africa and beyond.

 saltto taste
 6 fresh tomatoes (blended)
 2 onions (chopped)
 200 ml vegetable oil
 ½ fresh pepper (diced)
 ½ tsp curry powder
 4 fresh sliced tomatoes(for garnishing)
 1 tsp mixed spices
 Fried chicken or beef
 400 ml chicken broth
 1 garlic (diced)
 1 ginger(blended)

Benachin_Rice_jollof_rice

Ingredients

 saltto taste
 6 fresh tomatoes (blended)
 2 onions (chopped)
 200 ml vegetable oil
 ½ fresh pepper (diced)
 ½ tsp curry powder
 4 fresh sliced tomatoes(for garnishing)
 1 tsp mixed spices
 Fried chicken or beef
 400 ml chicken broth
 1 garlic (diced)
 1 ginger(blended)
Benachin: Gambian Jollof Rice by Global Food Book

#6: Jollof rice recipe from Liberia by relief Inc.

Jollof rice is a delicious West African dish composed of fluffy red orange rice that is often cooked with vegetables and meat.

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liberian Jollof rice

Yields8 Servings
Prep Time20 minsCook Time40 minsTotal Time1 hr

Those of us at Relief, Inc. would like to share Liberian culture and food recipes with our supporters. We enjoy the unique flavors that can be found in the Liberian tradition, which is influenced by the American culture, due to the special bond that these two countries share. Our staff hopes that you and your family will enjoy preparing and eating these delicious African dishes.

For the chicken
 1 onion
 2 lbs chicken(bone in), cut
 1 stock cube Maggi or other
For the sauce
 4 tbsp vegetable oil
 2 onions thinly sliced
 2 Scotch bonnet peppers
 1 onion
 2 bay leaves
 1 tbsp curry powder(optional)
For the rice
 ½ lb green beanscut into 1 inch-pieces
 2 carrots peeled and cut into large matchsticks

Ingredients

For the chicken
 1 onion
 2 lbs chicken(bone in), cut
 1 stock cube Maggi or other
For the sauce
 4 tbsp vegetable oil
 2 onions thinly sliced
 2 Scotch bonnet peppers
 1 onion
 2 bay leaves
 1 tbsp curry powder(optional)
For the rice
 ½ lb green beanscut into 1 inch-pieces
 2 carrots peeled and cut into large matchsticks
Jollof Rice Recipe from Liberia by Relief Inc.

Conclusion

You can serve Jollof with fried plantain or any other additional stew of your choice. Feel free to try out your own different combination of ingredients and come up with an incredibly different Jollof recipe. Maybe we’ll feature it in our article next time. We hope you have a blast enjoying these fresh and out-of-this-world recipes made by our very own Africans within Africa and in the diaspora. Enjoy experimenting with the different recipes. We sure will. So, let’s settle this once and for all, which country makes the tastiest Jollof rice? Ghana or Nigeria? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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