How to make Jollof rice

A delicious West African dish that you can change and adapt to suit your tastes. In this video, we make a vegan-friendly version, but you can add chicken or prawns if you want. You can also make it as spicy (or not) as you like.

If you'd like to see the ingredients or download a highly accessible version of this recipe, you can do that here.



Andrea: Hello, my name's Andrea and in this video, I'm going to show you how to make jollof rice. Clement from the Stroke Association will be joining me today.

Clement: Hello everyone, hi Andrea. So jollof rice is one of those recipes with lots of different stories about where it originated. But UNESCO has officially recognized Senegal as the origin of this dish. It's popular in a lot of West African countries. Depending on the country, the recipes and the variations differ. So it's a very popular dish in Ghana, Nigeria and of course Senegal.

Andrea: This is to be a vegan-friendly recipe, although you can make this with prawns chicken beef or other meat. It's a great dish for you when you have a bit of time to cook maybe on a Sunday or when you have people round.

The prep time for this recipe takes between 15 to 20 minutes. It will then cook for just under an hour.

There's quite a few ingredients in this recipe. We'll be using oil, we'll be using rice, of course. We've got two types of rice on the table here today. We've got brown and white. White rice is the traditional rice to use in this recipe.

We've got Scotch Bonnet peppers, also traditional, but if you don't like Scotch Bonnets you can use Chili Pepper instead. We'll also been using tomatoes, we've got tinned here and fresh and pureed tomatoes, we won't be using the fresh tomatoes today. We've got onions, peppers, garlic and ginger. And also stock cubes as well.

We'll also been using some herbs. Today we'll be using thyme.

Clement: And I can see we're using the low salt variety of our stock cubes today.

Andrea: Which important.

Clement: Brilliant. Because I know jollof rice has, lots of people like it with lots of salt, lots of pepper and oil and yes where we can cut that out that would be great.

Andrea: Exactly

Clement: So what equipment do we need to prepare this recipe?

Andrea: Lots of different equipment. We've got a pot, chopping boards, knives, a jug, spoons, measuring spoons, measuring cups for the rice, a bowl and a stick blender.

The reason we're using a stick blender, just in case you have problems holding things in your hands because dexterity and losing that dexterity in your hands.

Clement: And so I've got one of these um special chopping boards which are really useful if you have got limited mobility or just the use of one side one arm.

Andrea: So I'm going to begin with washing the rice. The reason I wash the rice is because rice can be quite starchy. So when you cook it, it sticks together so I'm going to show you what I mean.


As you can see, as you start to wash the rice the water becomes quite milky. So I'm going to wash this rice until the water becomes clear.

If you're a little bit scared that you're going to tip your rice out the bowl, you could actually do this in a sieve. The reason I'm doing it like this because it shows you just how starchy the rice is.

So Clement to start this dish, we have to prepare our vegetables. So we're going to chop our onion, and our peppers, ginger and garlic. It can be roughly chopped, it doesn't have to be nicely chopped.

So if I can ask you to do the onion for me?

Clement: I can do the onion and I'm going to use this chopping board. So I'm simply going to pop this on here on the spikes. I guess if you're not feeling strong enough to push all the way down as long as it's holding it steady you can do it that way. And the knife holding in a natural position going to put the point down there and kind of use a kind of guillotine method on it.

So as I bring the knife down I can chop straight through the onion like so. I can use my less dominant hand to just hold the chopping board down on that side. I'm just going to start using the same methods to chop away here.

And I don't need to chop this very finely, do I?

Andrea: No

Clement: Okay so, I'll do the same on this side. I'll say this is the first time I've used this so I did really well used to.

Andrea: You're doing really well.

Clement: As it's all going in a blender I guess I don't really have to do the kind of cordon bleu type of chopping here. Yes

Andrea: You don't want to chop it too much as well because you may get tired.

Clement: That's true.

Andrea: So this is a really nice recipe because things don't have to be even because they are going to be blended.

Clement: Okay so that's the onions done uh you're going to do the garlic.

Andrea: I am. I've prepared my garlic, I took the skin off I'm going to leave them whole. Because they are going to be blended so I don't need to chop them up.

Clement: Okay

Andrea: So we're just going to put everything into the pink bowl there.

Clement: Put all the onions in there.

Andrea: I'm going to prepare the pepper so you don't have to use a knife too much I'm just going to cut around the stalk, pull the stalk out. Bang the seeds out and tear it apart.

All right?

Clement: So you don't need to use a knife to scrape the seeds out?

Andrea: Not at all. If you ever got problems holding a knife, this is a great one. Okay? If I could get you to chop some of this for me?

Clement: Okay. So you don't need to use the knife to scrap the seeds out.

Andrea: No. If you have got problems holding a knife, this is a great one. Okay. If I could get you to chop some of this for me? I just in fact I'm going to give it all to you.

Clement: All right.

Andrea: The reason being we've got our ginger here. And most people peel ginger with a knife. If your hands are not very strong, use your good hand for the spoon and you can just scrape the skin off. It's much easier and you're not wasting too much ginger by doing this.

Clement: And it feels like you're not going to get cut by a sharp knife?

Andrea: Exactly, much safer.


Right that's beautifully done Clement and I've finished scraping the skin off the ginger, I'm just going to cut it a little bit. Again it doesn't have to be too small because it will be blended.

Clement: Brilliant

Andrea: Okay

Clement: I think we've got almost everything we need we do blending.

Andrea: We do.

Clement: How about the Scotch bonnet would you like me to?

Andrea: Please you're braver than me. I'll let you choose the size you want to use.

Clement: Okay we've got a nice big one here so it's interesting I'm brave we'll go

Andrea: Yeah you are brave

Clement: Large one. With scotch bonnet, make sure you wash your hands after you handle this and if you do have gloves I would advise using gloves. Just taking the stalk off.

Some people put this into the dish whole, I believe.

Andrea: Yeah they do

Clement: Others might want to get rid of the seeds, so I'm just going to roughly chop it. I'll just take some of the seeds out we'll leave some in for that spice. And yes definitely wash your hands so the rough chunks into the bowl.

Andrea: Wonderful. I'll let you wash your hands.


Andrea: We've got the fresh thyme here so I'm just going to break some off. I'm going to put plenty in because it is all about flavour.

Just pop that in now we want our mixture to be wet so I'm going to use the tinned tomatoes in this. So would you like to pop that in, okay please Clement?

Clement: No problem

Andrea: Okay we could put the pureed tomatoes in now if you want? I'm going to measure this or you can be free handed because there's no salt in this so it's up to you um

Clement: Yeah let's measure it.

Andrea: Measure it okay? I'm gonna put two of these in because it's quite concentrated, pureed tomatoes.

We've decided to keep the dish quite traditional so we're not going to use the curry powder today.

Clement: I'm for all that

Andrea: Okay

Clement: Yeah traditional works for me

Andrea: I think so all that's left to do now is to blend our ingredients in our bowl.


Clement: Okay so I'm just going to make sure I've got that right down inside so I don't splash everywhere.

Yep that looks about right consistency seems to be good. Okay, it's all blended.

Andrea: Thank you. So next thing we need to do is start to cook our sauce off.

Clement: Yep.

Andrea: We're going to use some oil. I know traditionally this dish uses a lot of oil but we're going to measure it because we want to keep it as healthy as possible.

We're going to use two tablespoons in this dish. Thank you.

Clement: So do we uh have to heat it up first before?

Andrea: We do yeah. Classic way of to find out if our oil is is hot enough what we could do is get a tiny tiny tiny bit of our sauce and just wait for it to sizzle.

Clement: Okay

Andrea: Okay

Clement: Great tip

Andrea: Because we want our oil to be as hot as possible okay before we put the rest of the contents into the pan.

Yep so I'm not going to pour it from a height because it'll splash in my face.

Clement: And you don't want that with the Scotch bonnet.

Andrea: I'm gonna lower it into the pan. Smell those peppers.

I'm going to turn this up a little bit more and let that cook off just a tiny bit, so the oil gets blended in with the sauce. Clement, is this the dish you cook a lot at home?

Clement: Well um I do eat a lot of it at home, but um yeah I don't consider myself a jollof rice expert that I actually cook it. So it's good to know there's a lot of things in this dish that traditionally will be unhealthy. I hear some people cook this with palm oil, which it's never happened to me.

Andrea: No

Clement: It's good to get this kind of tips on using low stock cubes, because I think another traditional thing that comes in uh jollof rice is the use of some of these seasoning cubes and MSG which is just really not good for you

Andrea: No, because of the salt content. That's why we're going for the alternative a low salt stock cube. Okay so that's all blended together, okay? So we could start putting our rice in. It's bubbling away nicely.

Clement: I guess probably because of the thickness of it, that's probably why you don'ts want to cover it so it doesn't splash all over the place.

Andrea: Exactly, because you don't want this splashing into your eyes because of the peppers. These Scotch Bonnets are starting to get to my eyes.

Clement: Would you like me to?

Andrea: Thank you. All right.

Clement: So what are we going to add to it now?

Andrea: And what we're going to add to it now is some water. Now in the recipe it tells you to use a litre and a quarter. We've soaked this rice in water so it's been soaking and getting soft already. So I'm not going to add too much water. Or else it'll end up looking like rice pudding okay.

And I think that might be enough.

Clement: 300, 400 ml?

Andrea: Yes we can always add a little bit more water, we can't take it out. We can add in.

Clement: And I think this is like one of those kinds of recipes where slow cooking actually allows you to, if it reduces, you get more flavour in the rice anyway.

Andrea: Exactly

Clement: Reduce the water down.

Andrea: I'm gonna add a low salt stock cube. I'm only adding one because remember we've got lots of flavours from all the herbs and spices and the peppers that we've added to this dish. So really we don't need a lot of salt.

Clement: I guess we don't need to stir this once we've got all the ingredients, once you stirred the ingredients, then we can just cover it?

Andrea: Yeah cover it, but make sure that you stir that stock cube in, there's not big chunks left in there.

Clement: Okay yeah, oops found one.

Andrea: And stirring it, it also helps the rice not stick to the bottom of the pan. Yeah okay brilliant.

Clement Wonderful

Andrea: We can just.

Clement: Cover that?

Andrea: Cover it and we just leave it on a simmer?


Clement: So I just want to check it now?

Andrea: Yes, that looks lovely. Just make sure it's not sticking to the bottom. Just move your rice around gently. don't break it up okay?

Clement, shall we have a look and see if it's cooked? Oh yes.

Clement: Okay, smells good.

Andrea: It smells good, it looks good.

It seems to be a little bit sticky, it's not traditionally like this, is it?

Clement: No um you do get some party jollof rice that has this consistency, but generally I think because we used white rice and it was soaked already and the amount of liquid we had in it. If we'd reduced it further it might look a bit more traditional.

Andrea: Yeah

Clement: And if we use brown rice as well, I think with a longer cooking time.

Andrea: Yeah definitely, let's see, okay let's give it a taste.

Clement: Never had ginger before in my jollof rice, so that tastes really good. I think I might actually start giving that a try, how about you?

Andrea: That's a bit spicy for me. Excuse me I'm just gonna get some milk.


Clement: Okay. Well and that's our jollof rice. So let us know in the comments if you have any questions, if you've tried it out yourself. And please like our video and subscribe to our Channel, if you want to see more dishes like this.