Tips for Making Jollof Rice

Jollof rice
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

A very popular rice dish from West Africa (and Nigeria in particular), jollof rice is made with long-grain rice, tomatoes, onions, spices, vegetables, and meat. It’s prepared in a single pot, but don’t let that fact fool you into thinking jollof rice is easy to make. It can be deceivingly tricky, which is why we’ve pulled together these tips for how to make it as successful as possible.

It’s All About the Steam

To be cooked perfectly, jollof rice is all about being cooked in steam, not water. So cook until the sauce covers the rice, then stir together to combine the rice and the sauce, and cover the pot with aluminum foil and then the pot lid to trap in as much steam as possible.

Not Too Hot, Not Too Cool

Remember that with jollof rice, it’s all about balance. The temperature should be moderate, medium heat. If it’s too hot, the liquid will dry up too fast, and if it’s too low, the rice will end up soggy.

Getting the Right Color

To get that beautiful, deep orangey-red jollof rice color, you’ll need to use tomato paste. If you only use fresh tomatoes, it’ll water it down. So try to add a full tablespoon of tomato paste for every two fresh tomatoes you use.