I think Iâ€™ve mentioned my slight obsession with making the â€˜perfectâ€™ pot of jollof rice before, of how I want to make jollof that tastes just like my momâ€™s and how Iâ€™ve come up short so far.
I chide myself sometimes for wanting this; I try to convince myself that itâ€™s just rice in tomato sauce, and it shouldnâ€™t matter so much.
Yet, itâ€™s so much more, jollof is party food; itâ€™s celebration food â€“ it makes me hopeful for joyful times.
I got the idea to make baked jollof rice from this baked salsa rice recipe, cooking the rice in an oven yields the most perfect firm and fluffy rice.
I love that there isnâ€™t a standard recipe for jollof, itâ€™s highly adaptable, the rice and tomato sauce is just the base.
Since Iâ€™d never baked rice before and didnâ€™t know what to expect, I chose a simple recipe, and added a dash of lime juice just before I popped it into the oven.
I may not be able to recreate my momâ€™s jollof, at this point not even my mom can recreate it, Iâ€™m afraid the taste is probably gone with my childhood.
This rice was pretty close, the texture was perfect; and the tasteâ€¦ perfectly savoury, tomatoey and spicy.
Baked Jollof Rice
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 2 Jalapeno peppers, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped (2 cups canned tomatoes)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube (I use Harvest Sun Vegetable Bouillon)
- 2 cups parboiled rice, rinsed
- 2 – 3 cups vegetable stock (or water)
- 2 tablespoons juice of lime
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup cilantro, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat
- When oil is heated, add onions and sautÃ© for about 5 minutes, until onions start to brown
- Add cumin, peppers and garlic, stir, and cook for 1 – 2 minutes more
- Add garlic, smoked paprika and ginger and cook for another minute or so
- Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently until tomatoes soften
- The oil should get a slight reddish hue, add the cubed bouillon and rice, stir and cook for about 3 minutes
- Lower the heat and add the vegetable stock (or water), use 2 to 2 Â½ cups for firmer chewier rice and up to three cups if you prefer softer rice
- Add the lime juice, and salt to taste
- Transfer mixture into a large baking pan or casserole dish
- Cover with foil, place it in the oven, and cook for about 45 minutes until rice is cooked through and the liquid is all absorbed
- Fluff rice with a fork when it’s done and garnish with cilantro