Jollof rice

This dish from West Africa is really easy to vary, depending on your vegetable/protein preferences, or what you have on hand or in season.

Makes 8 servings

Kitchen equipment

  • Large pot with lid
  • Chopping knives, cutting boards
  • Can opener
  • Measuring cups, measuring spoons
  • Wooden stirring spoon
  • 1 or 2 medium-sized bowls


For the protein (choose 1):

  • 1 pound large peeled raw shrimp
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, cubed
  • 1 pound pressed* extra-firm tofu, cubed

For the vegetables (choose 2 or 3):

  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen peas
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen green beans

For the rice:

  • 4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 15-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 6 cups (1½ quarts) unsalted chicken or vegetable stock

For the garnish (choose 1 or 2):

  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sliced green onions
  • Hot sauce


  1. First, prepare your protein. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, add your protein and fry for a few minutes to sear the outside. The chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu will continue cooking with the rice, so it doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through. Be especially careful not to overcook shrimp, which will need only a couple of minutes. Remove protein from pot and set aside.
  2. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Sauté your choice of vegetables for about 5 minutes, or until beginning to brown and soften. Again, they do not have to be completely cooked through. Remove veggies from pot and set aside.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the pot. Add the onion first, and a few minutes later, the garlic and ginger, then cook until softened and beginning to brown, a few minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook for a few more minutes until the mixture becomes brick red.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, coriander, cumin, curry, salt, black pepper, thyme, red pepper flakes and rice. Stir to mix.
  6. Add 6 cups of stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in the reserved vegetables and if using beef or chicken, add these now too. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. If using shrimp or tofu, add these in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Cover and simmer until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid, and the vegetables and protein are cooked through. You may need to add a little more stock or water if the liquid is absorbed before the rice is tender.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve with whatever garnishes you choose — or put them on the table for diners to choose their own.

* about ½ hour before you need the tofu, rinse it and wrap it in paper towels or a clean tea towel, put it on a plate, then place something heavy (I use a cast iron frying pan, maybe with a couple of heavy cans as well) on top to squeeze out some of the water.

adapted from the Alison Ladman recipe found at

IMG_8736We served our Jollof Rice with baked squash.


5 thoughts on “Jollof rice

  1. Pingback: Halifax Supper Club, Feb. 2016 |

    • We made two batches for Supper Club — one with shrimp, and one with chicken. And when I tested the recipe I made it with tofu. All versions were delicious.

  2. Pingback: Halifax Supper Club, African Heritage Month, Feb. 2017 | Club Inclusion Cooks

  3. Pingback: Saturday Supper Club, Feb. 2018 | Club Inclusion Cooks

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