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- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
- A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 14-ounce can plum tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar or palm sugar
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper, sliced
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- A large bunch of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Add the onion, season, and sweat for several minutes until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and let it infuse for several minutes before adding the ginger. Cook for about 10 minutes until the onion is completely soft.
Add the spices and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, stir, and gently simmer for 5 or so minutes until the tomatoes are soft enough to crush with the back of a spoon.
Add the sugar and scotch bonnet and season. Simmer for another 15 minutes until the sauce has reduced and the tomatoes are almost completely smooth.
Rinse the rice and add it to the pan. Fill the empty tomato can with water and also add to the pan along with the vegetable bouillon cube. Simmer for about 1 hour or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is completely cooked. Try not to stir it too much, but do ensure it isn’t sticking to the bottom—a fork works best. You may need to add a touch more water but as the dish should be reasonably dry, avoid adding too much. The rice will eventually absorb all the sauce.
Gently fork the cilantro through the rice, reserving some for sprinkling on top when serving.
About this recipe
“If I told you my introduction to jollof rice came via the TV, would you judge me a little or a lot? Suffice to say, as soon as I witnessed that steaming pot of goodness in all its tomato-ey glory I just knew I had to recreate it in my own kitchen. Of course, this is very much my own (Anglicized) spin on things, so if you’re looking for an authentic version of what I now realize is a staple national dish for much of West Africa, this probably isn’t it. What it is, however, is a pot of unmatchable comfort complete with spice, carbs, and all that wholesome good stuff that makes you smile contentedly after consuming. I’ll take those high fives now please.” -- Ainé Carlin
From The New Vegan by Ainé Carlin, Published by Kyle Books, Photography by Nassima Rothacker