Posts tagged grain recipe
how to make jollof rice

“Who taught you how to do the shopping for Jollof rice?” I’d shown up to my Ghanaian friends’ house with a bag of groceries, my thanks for them having fed me home-cooked meals multiple times since I’d been living in Malaga (and my ‘bribe’ to get them to cook again that day). Had I done the shopping for Jollof rice? Not intentionally. But that day, I learned how to put this handful of very common ingredients together to create a classic West African rice dish that many say is the precursor to Southern / Creole jambalaya.

jollof rice ingredients

Like many iconic cultural dishes, Jollof rice has as many variations as there are cooks that prepare it. Seasonings, meats, and garnishes change according to individual tastes, the preparer's country of origin or family traditions, but one thing remains consistent: it's a boldy flavored dish that can feed a few or a crowd without breaking the bank. Despite the many stylistic differences, the steps to making Jollof rice are essentially the same in every recipe:

how to cook jollof rice   Yet, there is one other thing though that - for me - sets Jollof rice apart from other one-pot rice dishes... the crispy bottom.   If you have never experienced the culinary and textural joy that is crispy-bottomed rice... my friend, I dare say, you have not yet lived. While West Africans aren't the only ones who finish off rice cookery by intentionally and lightly scalding the layer of rice at the bottom of the cooking vessel so it turns a crispy, golden brown (the Spaniards do it too with paella), I think they may have perfected it. Plus, the rich flavors of this dish, when combined with that crunchy layer of rice, is just... delightful.  

If you fancy trying to make Jollof rice in your own kitchen, here are three recipes for inspiration:  

How to Make Jollof Rice

The best way to learn to make any dish is to watch someone else make it. In this video recipe from My African Food Map, Ghanaian Tuleka Prah takes us into her aunt's kitchen to learn the Ghanaian way to make Jollof rice - note the addition of extra veggies like carrots and green beans.

source: My African Food Map

 

Another West African home cook, Sisi Jemimah, swears by the addition of butter and white pepper to get an authentic Jollof rice taste. She also shares her secret for getting that characteristic reddish color that Jollof rice is known for. She finishes her version by stirring in fresh tomato and sliced onion at the end of cooking - a touch that will add a little brightness to a dish that's heavy on rich, savory flavor.

how to make jollof rice

 

This recipe from NigerianFoodTv gives specific instructions on how to get that coveted crispy bottom layer on the rice. It suggests parboiling the rice to help the process along, but I've gotten good results without parboiling, instead just rinsing the rice to remove the excess starch before cooking.

Have you tried Jollof rice before? What are your tips for getting the right balance of flavor, color and texture? If you haven't tried to make this dish before - give it a go... you won't be disappointed.

how to make jollof rice

coconut curry quinoa + 5 ways to cook quinoa
quinoa-salad.jpg

Weeknight mealtimes have been sort of iffy lately. Most times,  I manage to plan ahead for my evening meal.  Sometimes, I just wing it with what's in the fridge and pantry. Since quinoa is something I always have on hand, it makes frequent appearances alongside or underneath whatever else I've cooked. Occasionally though, I like to give the little grain some more attention. You know, zhoozh it up a bit so it doesn't always fade into the background. Here's one of my favorite ways:

Coconut-Curry Quinoa

makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa (I like to use a combo of regular and black quinoa)
  • small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • roma tomato, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 - 1 Tbsp of curry powder (vary amount according to your tastes)
  • small can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
In a pot, heat olive oil. Saute onions and red bell pepper for a few minutes until onions are tender. Add tomato and curry powder and stir to combine. Add the quinoa and stir well.  Add coconut milk and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat to simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
Here, I served coconut-curry quinoa with some Thai-flavored roasted 'shrooms and lemony roasted Brussels sprouts for a Meatless Monday meal:
Since I do use quinoa a lot, sometimes I'll cook up a big batch at the beginning of the week, and use it throughout the week in different ways. Here are some simple suggestions for using cooked quinoa creatively:

5 Ways to Use Cooked Quinoa:

  1. Quinoa mac-and-cheese - A more protein-packed version of the classic dish. I use the quinoa mac-and-cheese recipe from Moni's Meals as a guideline.
  2. Quinoa stir fry - Stir fry peas, diced carrots, diced green onions, and any other veggies you like with crushed garlic and ginger. Toss in cooked quinoa, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
  3. Quinoa salad - Toss cooked quinoa with diced cucumber, tomatoes, fresh basil, feta cheese, and a vinaigrette. Add more veggies and salad fixings as you like.
  4. Quinoa cakes - Mix cooked quinoa with beaten egg, minced shallots, and grated parmesan cheese. Shape into small cakes and pan-fry. Serve as a snack or appetizer.
  5. Quinoa burgers - Mix cooked quinoa with ground beef or turkey, egg, and seasonings. Shape into burger-sized patties and cook as you would cook burgers. It's a nice way to add a little whole grain to your meal.

 

cheers,

k

top photo: Quinoa with Chickpeas, Curry, and Lime