Jollof is a West African rice-based, single-pot dish that is incredibly versatile. This jollof recipe, from chef Serigne Mbaye of Dakar NOLA in New Orleans, offers a base recommendation for seasoning, but tasting and adjusting are important. Mbaye recommends not only adding salt as desired but also more vinegar or lime juice if more acidity is needed. This is a recipe that can be personalized and adjusted to suit the chef’s needs and taste with ingredients like tomatoes, onions, spices, and the option of meat for protein.
½ cup vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 medium tomatoes, finely diced
1 medium habanero pepper (optional)
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 teaspoon cayenne
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 cups long-grain rice
Chopped parsley for serving
- Add oil to a large cooking pot or dutch oven and heat over medium-high. Add diced onion, cooking until golden brown, about 5 minutes; then add tomato paste and stir until evenly incorporated. Deglaze pot with vinegar, letting mixture reduce by ⅓, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomato, habanero if using, green pepper, cayenne, and bay leaves. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook over medium heat until vegetables have softened about 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse the rice 3 times to remove excess starch.
- Once vegetables are soft, add 1½ cups of water and let sauce reduce for 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning and add pepper. (If more acidity is desired, add more vinegar or lime juice.) Add rice to pot, making sure there is just enough liquid to cover everything.
- Cover pot halfway and simmer until rice has absorbed most of the liquid, about 8 minutes. Cover the pot completely and increase heat to high for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and set the covered pot aside for 15 minutes. Fluff rice and garnish with parsley before serving.