Jollof Rice, a Traditional Sunday Liberian Dinner

Why not try Jollof Rice this Sunday. It makes for a wonderfully tasty and easy Sunday dinner.

Everyone likes it, adults and kids alike. I still remember as a child eating this meal every single Sunday.

There are several ways to cook this dish. This particular recipe came about by trial and error. It turned out to be a simplified version. Which simply means that I have used fewer ingredients and you can feel free to add more meats of your choice.

I didn't know how to cook it. So I asked my Mom and my cousin Yvonne how they cooked it. Then I made it several times, making changes here and there, particularly using less fatty meats.

I have made it how I like it. Once you try it, you can experiment with various meats, vegetables, seasonings and amount of oil. Then you will have the perfect recipe for your taste.

Jollof rice can stand alone as a meal or you can serve with fried chicken and fried plantains.

Jollof Rice

You will need:

3 C raw rice (parboiled, see Tips below)
1 lb peeled shrimp
3 lbs chicken (or some combination of chicken and beef)
6 oz can spam (or smoked turkey)
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (chopped, optional)
2 C frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tsp salt
2 tsp seasoned salt (Lawrys is great)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 C cooking oil
1 C water

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Cook Chicken, Meat, and Shrimp

Remove any skin and fat from the chicken and meat. Cut up into 1 to 1/2 inch pieces. Peel your shrimp and place in bowl with
meat and chicken.

Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp seasoned salt and stir. Allow to stand for 15 minutes.

Dice spam (or smoked turkey) into small (1/2 inch) pieces. The spam is probably salty enough so no need to add salt. Place in a bowl by itself.

Spray the bottom of a large non-stick skillet with cooking oil spray. Turn burner on high. If you use regular oil, use a Tbs of oil and cook on medium high instead. Test oil by dropping some droplets of water into hot skillet. Oil is ready if water skittles around.

Add chicken, meat and shrimp to pan and stir around quickly with spoon until golden brown and cooked. Transfer back to pan.

Cool, clean and then spray the same skillet with cooking oil spray. Fry the spam until medium brown. If you are using smoked turkey, there is no need to cook it any further.

Add the spam to the bowl with meat, chicken, and shrimp. Set aside.

Make your Sauce

Clean out your skillet. Add your oil.

Chop onions. Heat oil in skillet on high. When hot, add chopped onion and frozen mixed vegetables. Sautee until the onions are cooked.

Add tomatoes, mixed vegetables, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp seasoned salt, black pepper, green pepper(if you are using any) and 1 C water.

Add the chicken, shrimp, meat and spam. Stir, cook on medium for 2 minutes. Remove from stove and set aside.

Half-Cook Your Rice

Put the raw rice in a deep pot and add water to about two inches above the level of the rice. Place pot on burner set to high and boil about 12 minutes.

You need to cook the rice until it is half done. It should not be raw and it should not be fully cooked. Do not cook it soft or your Jollof Rice will be mushy, (unless you like mushy rice).

Carefully pour rice through a strainer. Rinse with fresh water allowing water to drain from rice. Transfer rice to a large pan.

Finally: Make Your Jollof Rice

Pre-heat oven to 350. Set timer to 30 minutes. Combine cabbage with rice in a large bowl. Mix well.

Add sauce, a little at a time, to the rice mixture in the pan.

Be careful not to add too much sauce!

Your rice should be covered with sauce, but not watery. You may not need to use all the sauce. You can add any remaining sauce later, while baking.

Mix well and transfer to a large deep 13 x 9 inch aluminum baking pan or 2 large Pyrex dishes(8 x 11). Cover and seal with aluminum foil and place in oven. Set timer to 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove from oven. Remove foil covering and carefully stir rice in pan. Replace foil cover and put back in oven. Bake another 15 minutes.

Remove rice from oven again. Remove foil and test your Jollof Rice rice to see is it is done. See Tips.

If it is hard, add any extra sauce and carefully mix in. If you don't have any sauce left over, add a cook spoon of water.

If you add more sauce or water, cover again with foil, and cook an additional 10 minutes. If not, move to the next step.

When your rice is fully cooked (firm but not too soft), switch oven to Broil Hi. Remove foil covering, and broil for 5 minutes. This is to brown your rice.

Stir rice again and broil another 2 minutes. Your rice should be ready now.

Remove pan from oven and enjoy your Jollof Rice with fried chicken and fried plantain.

Next Sunday, why not try one of my other African dinner recipes. pod storage or your trashbin with wastefull paper magazines. The ezine only takes up a tiny bit of hard drive space.

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Uncle Ben's rice is a nice parboiled brand. You may also find other brands in grocery stores. You should look for large bags of rice to save on costs even if the bags are big enough to store in a pod storage container.

Parboiled rice is preferred because the grains stay separated when cooked and it is not too starchy. However, you can use any rice that is available to you. Just rinse off the starch after you half-cook it.

You should try the recipe once as it is. If you find that you prefer it with a little less or more oil, reduce or up the oil by another 1/8 cup when you make your sauce.

If you want a bit more flavor and less of a tomato taste, use seasoned diced tomatoes. There is quite a selection on your grocer's shelves.

Taste your rice as you stir while baking. Feel free to add a bit more seasoned salt if it tastes like it needs it. Only you know how well-seasoned you like your foods.

Doneness Test: what I do to check it is to bite into a grain of rice and if it yields to my bite but is still sort of hard, then it is ready.

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