Whether it is Nigerian Jollof Rice or Ghanian Jollof Rice, an authentic delicious Jollof rice recipe is as simple as some rice cooked in blended tomatoes, peppers, onions, and meat stock. And smoky Jollof rice is a yearning for the flavours of our grandmothers. Jollof rice is a West African dish that is beloved for its rich and flavorful taste. One of the best ways to make this dish is by baking it in the oven. Oven-baked jollof rice is not only delicious, but it is also an easy and convenient way to cook this classic dish. Different variations in accepted spices and the quantity of each ingredient have led to multiple internet controversies. But, Nigerians rarely share their secret to making that native-tasting party Jollof rice that you just can’t get enough of. If you know, you know. It all started decades ago when our grandmothers had no access to a cooking stove.
They cooked all their meals by making a fire from collected wood. This added an extra flavour to their dishes, it was the flavour of smoked burnt wood. Combined with the heat from the scotch bonnets, the flavour was simply hard to ignore. Two generations on, when we finally had access to modern electric cookers, we tended to replicate that flavour from the burning wood. And we found the perfect substitute in hickory liquid smoke. Hickory smoke imitates the burnt wood flavour in this smoky Jollof rice recipe.
Nigerian Party Jollof is synonymous with a smoky flavour because, when jollof rice is cooked in bulk for party sized guests, it is still done on wood fire to date. Using liquid smoke is an attempt to replicate the flavour from the wood. It is not as authentic as the original thing, but it gets the job done.
Is Jollof Rice Healthy
Jollof rice is amazing because, you can really make it yours. Jollof rice can be a healthy dish when made with nutritious ingredients and prepared in a healthy way. However, the exact nutritional value of the dish can vary depending on the recipe and the ingredients used. One of the main ingredients in jollof rice is rice, which is a good source of carbohydrates and provides energy. However, it is also important to note that some recipes use large amounts of oil, which can add a significant amount of calories and unhealthy saturated fats. To reduce and control calories in my Jollof rice recipe, I use extra virgin olive oil so that I am sure most of the calories comes from the rice.
Additionally, Some recipes also include meats such as chicken, beef or shrimp that can be high in cholesterol. Another important component of Jollof rice is the tomato paste and tomatoes, which are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, and other antioxidants. Also, vegetables such as carrots, peas, bell peppers, and onions can also be added to provide more fiber and vitamins. One way to make Jollof rice more healthy is to reduce the amount of red meats by using lean cuts of meats or plant-based alternatives. Additionally, you can use brown or parboiled rice instead of white rice, to have a higher fiber and nutrient dense dish.
Overall, like most dishes, moderation is key, Jollof Rice can be enjoyed as a healthy option when prepared with healthy ingredients and in a healthy way. If you are watching your calorie intake, it is important to be mindful of portion sizes and to balance it with other nutritious foods as part of a well-rounded diet.
Jollof rice is also the perfect vegan or vegetarian meal if you replace the chicken stock powder with vegetable stock powder. Most Africans do not recommend taking meat stock out of Jollof rice, but it really isn’t a deal breaker. For every cup of cooked Jollof rice, you can expect 180 Calories for Long Grain Rice or 210 Calories for Basmati Rice. Of course, rice is carbs and as with every carb, you eat it, you burn it.
Why is My Jollof Rice Hard Or Soggy
This is what separates Jollof rice Ninjas from Jollof rice amateurs. Getting the perfect texture of the rice. There are three characteristics of the perfect Jollof rice. Firstly, the rice grains must not stick together. Secondly, your Jollof rice should be perfectly cooked – not too soft or too hard. And finally the rice should be fluffy and moist – not soggy or wet. Wash your rice until most of the starch is gone. Watch your combined liquid to rice ratio and match your cooking time to the texture of the rice when it goes on heat. The correct liquid to rice ratio is 1 (1/4) cup of liquid (any liquid) to 1 cup of uncooked rice. Note that the tomato sauce is also a liquid.
Why Bake Jollof Rice in the Oven
Baking jollof rice in the oven offers several advantages over traditional methods of cooking the dish on the stovetop. One of the main advantages of oven-baking jollof rice is that it is a hands-off method of cooking. Once the rice is in the oven, you can leave it to cook without having to constantly stir or monitor the pot. This can be especially helpful if you are short on time or have other things to do while the rice is cooking.
Another advantage of baking jollof rice in the oven is that it can help to create a more evenly cooked and flavorful dish. Cooking the rice in the oven allows the heat to circulate evenly around the pot, which helps to ensure that every grain of rice cooks through evenly. This can be difficult to achieve when cooking on the stovetop, where the heat is concentrated on the bottom of the pot and can lead to uneven cooking.
Additionally, Cooking in the oven also allows the spices and tomatoes to develop a deeper, richer flavor, as opposed to quick simmering on the stove. This can give the dish a more complex and enjoyable taste.
Lastly, for outdoor cooking events, cooking Jollof rice in the oven can be a better option than cooking it over an open fire, oven baking method is less messy and more manageable, and it can be made in large quantity. Overall, baking jollof rice in the oven is a convenient and delicious way to make this classic dish.
What Makes Jollof Rice Smoky
One of the traditional ways to achieve the smoky flavor in Jollof rice is by using hickory smoke liquid, smoked meats such as smoked turkey, bacon or ham hocks, as well as dried smoked fish, which can add a smoky flavor to the dish. But
Another way to add smokiness to Jollof rice is through the use of smoked paprika. This spice is made by drying and smoking sweet peppers, which gives it its characteristic smoky flavor. It can be added to the dish along with other spices to give the Jollof rice a smoky taste. Additionally, it is also possible to add smokiness by charring some of the ingredients such as tomatoes, peppers, and onions, which can create a smoky flavor that permeates throughout the dish.
Oven Baked Smoky Party Jollof Rice Recipe
Smoky Jollof Rice
- 1 (1/2) Cups Long Grain Rice
- 1 Large red Onions
- 2 Large Tomatoes
- 4 Tbsp Tomato Puree
- 3 Medium Scotch Bonnets (Use 1 For Milder Heat)
- 1 Medium Foot Long Red Peppers
- 1 Medium Foot Long Yellow Peppers
- 1 Large Garlic Clove
- 15 Grams Ginger
- 1 tbsp Parsley
- 1 tbsp Jollof Spice
- 1 tbsp Dried Thyme
- 1 tbsp Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 3 tbsp Hickory Smoke
- 150 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 Bay Leaves
- Pre Heat the Oven to 250C
- In a separate bowl, add 3 cups of boiling water to the rice. Cover with a cloth and set aside for 30 – 45 mins.1 (1/2) Cups Long Grain Rice
- On a baking tray, dice the tomatoes, onions, red peppers, yellow peppers, scotch bonnet, ginger and garlic. Roast these in the oven at 250C for about 30 – 35 mins. You should smell the roasting scotch bonnets.1 Large red Onions, 2 Large Tomatoes, 3 Medium Scotch Bonnets, 1 Medium Foot Long Red Peppers, 1 Medium Foot Long Yellow Peppers, 15 Grams Ginger, 1 Large Garlic Clove
- Once roasted, transfer the roasted vegetables into a food processor or blender. Add Hickory smoke Liquid and extra virgin olive oil and Blend until smooth.3 tbsp Hickory Smoke, 150 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Turn the blend into a baking or casserole dish.
- Add the tomato puree, dried thyme, parsley, jollof spice and chicken or vegetable stock. Mix thoroughly4 Tbsp Tomato Puree, 1 tbsp Jollof Spice, 1 tbsp Dried Thyme, 1 tbsp Chicken or Vegetable Stock, 1 tbsp Parsley
- Get the soaked rice from step 2 and pass through a sieve. The rice should have little water in it now. It should also be per-boiled. Run cold water through the sieve and wash the rice lightly.
- Add the rice to the mix in the casserole dish and mix throughly.
- Add 1 cup of water and cover with some foil paper.
- Top with bay leaves3 Bay Leaves
- Reduce the oven temperature to about 160C. And bake for 40-45 mins.