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Best of Naija series.....Jollof rice

Its served in every Nigerian party: weddings,naming ceremony,office parties,even bridal showers,its the popular Jollof rice.Accompanied by dodo(fried plantains), cole slaw or a full salad, this meal is yummy when cooked properly. I usually make a vegetable Jollof rice because I dont like the idea of plain rice,except off course i'm eating it with a biiiiig portion of salad.

Memoirs: I remember a School I attended outside Nigeria, organized an international week. One unique thing about that department was diverse Nationalities,I was asked to cook something Nigerians love and I didnt waste time deciding what I was gonna cook!.Jollof rice!

I called my dad(an expert in finding naija food in the US) to ask how to identify our dear 'atarodo' among dozens of species of pepper with the same colour and/or size.LOL.

I found the right ingredients thankfully and cooked it happily,garnished it with plantain, and watched the foil bowls/tray go down to the last grain as people from different Nationalities sampled this dish we love so Much in Naija.  Ghanians didnt spare the rice one bit! they are very familiar with it. Okay lets cook.

 You'll need
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  • 2 habanero(ata rodo)
  • 5 Large tomatoes
  • 3 large tatase(red bell pepper)
  •  1 large bay leaf
  • 3 cooking spoons of chicken/beef stock
  • some seasoning
  • pinch of salt
  • one tablespoon of crushed garlic and grated ginger
  • 2 onions (1 to blend with the tomatoes and pepper)
  • diced carrots green pepper,spring onions and green beans
  • one small can of tomato paste(optional) actually reddens the jollof rice.
  • 3 cooking spoons of oil
  • half teaspoon of curry
  • half teaspoon of thyme
Parboil your rice, wash the excess starch and drain it.

 Blend the tomatoes, the habanero,tatase and the onion,you can blend the ginger and garlic with it at once.steam it till the water is dried.In a pan, fry the onions and  add the tomato/pepper sauce, also add the canned/satchet tomato paste.

Add the curry,thyme, stock,seasoning TO TASTE(be careful not to make it too spicy or salty)
Pour the parboiled rice into the tomato/pepper sauce/base and add water to cover the rice a LITTLE bit,be careful not to add too much water so you don't get soggy rice. At this stage I like to add some sliced onions and tomatoes in rings before covering the pot.I prefer to add the water in stages as it dries.

Remember to add your bay leaf,the flavour is a classic!

Allow to cook untill soft enough. if youre adding veggies, add them about 3-5minutes before your rice is cooked so they can steam up,retain their colour and crunch.


Serve with grilled chicken/fish/salad/dodo

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