Lifestyle,  Nigerian in Diaspora

HOW MY NIGERIAN JOLLOF RICE GOT OUR EUROPEAN GUESTS TALKING


So last week Friday, I conquered my fear of cooking large meals. Even though I’m a good cook, I mean whatever I cook usually turns out to be delicious, which is also evident by my husband’s frequent compliments of my meals, I have a phobia for cooking meals in large quantities. I used to wonder how caterers and restaurant owners do it. Maybe it’s because I come from a family of five who doesn’t eat much or because I eat in little quantity. Thus I project my appetite unto others.
Anyways, back to my story, I had to prepare our very own Nigerian party jollof rice for about twenty people, including Europeans, for dinner. Usually, I cook jollof rice for my family. I even reserve some in the fridge for one week or two, but to cook for twenty people, majorly people whose tongues are alien to the taste of jollof rice! Chai! Afraid catch me. Lol.
Armed with my prior knowledge, I sought more insight from a sister in the church’s kitchen department who gave me more helpful tips. Lo and behold, my jollof rice turned out perfect! I mean perfect! I was so excited. I took pictures and sent to my sister and my friend. I called my hubby and told him our jollof rice turned out perfect because we were in it together. Lol.
I made some coleslaw and grilled chicken with it. What could be more amazing?
Our guests enjoyed the meal. Some of their comments were:

‘Hmm. This is so tasty and spicy.’’
‘’This tastes good!’’
‘’This smells so good.’’
‘’What spices did you put?’’
‘’Can I go for a third plate?’’


Yours truly’s head was just swelling like bread that was thrown into the water. Hihihi.
Anyways, let’s get down to business. I’ll share with you the recipes I used in cooking 3 kg of rice and also the process. If you are a Nigerian and you don’t know how to cook the famous Nigerian party jollof rice, you are missing a great deal. So let’s go.
Recipes
Rice -3kg
Red bell pepper (tatase)- 10 pieces
Scotch bonnet pepper (ata rodo) – 3 pieces (You can increase or reduce it depending on how spicy you want your jollof rice. I used three pieces because Europeans don’t do well with spicy foods. If I were cooking for my family, I would probably use ten pieces. In fact, if I were in Nigeria, I’d use more. I love my foods spicy. You know the kind of food that will make your nostrils watery? Ehen. Hihihi.)
Plum tomatoes, i.e. chopped tomatoes. You can use the normal seed tomatoes, about four pieces. You can also skip the tomatoes if you want.
Vegetable oil- six cooking spoons
Onion- 13 bulbs of large onions
Margarine- 180g
Bay leaf
Tomato paste 500g
Curry
Thyme
Maggi (I used 9 cubes (pair) of Knorr chicken)
Salt to taste

Cooking steps
There are different ways people cook jollof rice and it turns out good. One way no enter market. So there’s no one size fits all to cook this. However, this is how I cook mine and achieve great results:
Blend the peppers, tomatoes, 8 bulbs of onions and put to boil. You may choose not to boil if you don’t have the luxury of time. Sometimes, I don’t boil, and my jollof rice comes out nice still.
Heat the vegetable oil in a pot. Chop the remaining three bulbs of onion and fry in the heated oil until transparent.
Add tomato paste to the oil and keep turning as it fries just to give it a smoky taste.
Add the boiled pepper mix and add all the seasonings, fry on a medium heat. Cover the pot to prevent spilling.
Wash rice very well until the water is clear. This is to remove the starch and prevent your jollof rice from getting sticky. Some people parboil their rice, but I don’t think that is necessary. I don’t.
When the oil appears on the stew, add the washed rice and mix thoroughly.
Jollof rice doesn’t need a lot of water or else; you will end up with soggy jollof rice. It needs steam, so you need to be very careful here. Add just a little water that will be at the same level of the rice or just a little above the level of the rice.    
Add margarine, so that it will cook with the rice.
Reduce the heat of your cooker so that you don’t end up with burnt uncooked jollof rice. So, cook under low heat.
Cover the pot with foil. If you don’t have a foil, you can use a harmless nylon bag. Then cover the pot firmly with the lid.
After twenty minutes, turn the jollof rice with a wooden turning stick. The rice must have sucked in the water by now. Don’t worry. Cover it with the foil and the lid and forget about it. Go and make coleslaw or play with anyone you like. Lol.
Check in forty minutes. It should be done by now. If it’s not, keep cooking and checking until it’s done.


Some people slice onions and tomatoes and add to the jollof rice when it’s done. It’s optional. You may add or skip it. As the spirit leads.

Go with this and make some jollof rice for yourself, friends, and family! 

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