The Tweh Family Take On Jollof Rice
It's hard to pinpoint my earliest memory of jollof rice. It's just been ubiquitous throughout my life. I remember being in the kitchen when I was between 4 and 6 years old as my mother and a close family friend cooked a pot of it here in Miami.
I'm pretty sure jollof rice was served during my grandfather's funeral, which took place when I was 4.
WLRN is here for you, even when life is unpredictable. Local journalists are working hard to keep you informed on the latest developments across South Florida. Please support this vital work. Become a WLRN member today. Thank you.
I wouldn't say it is a family recipe, but it is our current take on jollof rice. My mother used to cook it a completely different way, and now she prefers to cook it this way. I love how jollof rice fits for any occasion and holiday. No matter what the event is, jollof rice will always fit right in.
Jollof rice is a versatile one-pot dish that comes from the Wolof people, who reside in Senegal, Mauritania, and The Gambia. It is popular in countries all over West Africa, with each region preparing it a different way. I like to compare jollof rice to a cocktail.
There is an important foundation that is crucial to the taste of both, but everything else can be changed to adjust it to your tastes. Liberian jollof rice will have all the meats listed below, or it might have only one or two. It might have no meat at all and just contain vegetables. It’s hard to cook this dish incorrectly. Scaling this up and down is easy and the possibilities are endless!
A large pot
2 large onions
3 cloves of garlic
A can of tomato paste
2 fresh tomatoes, increase depending on how many people you are serving.
A bag of mixed vegetables
2 cups of rice for a small batch, increase depending on how many people you are serving.
Soy sauce (optional)
Rice vinegar (optional)
Maggi cubes (or other bouillon cubes)
Chicken (breast, thighs, drumsticks, any cuts. I recommend easy to cook boneless cuts.)
Pork (cuts for stews or stir-frying such as shoulder, butt, tenderloin and loin)
Smoked turkey (I prefer smoked turkey neckbone)
1. Cook your rice first and then set it aside.
2. As the rice cooks cut up your meats and dice your vegetables.
3. The amount of oil in your pot will vary depending on the amount of meat you’re cooking with. If you’re cooking every type listed in this recipe, then you need enough to coat the bottom so the meat won’t burn.
4. Season your meats with black pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and a Maggi cube, and let them fry until they’re browned. Once browned and cooked through, take them out and set them aside. If there is too much oil in the point, remove some of it.
5. As the meats fry, blend the tomato paste and tomatoes with about half a cup of water.
6. Take your diced vegetables and add them to the pot so they can cook the fond and soak up all that flavor.
7. After the vegetables have cooked for 5-10 minutes, add the tomato mixture on top. Season this mixture with the previous seasonings, and a quarter or a half of a Maggi cube. Add soy sauce and rice vinegar if you have them.
8. Let the mixture cook and mix with the vegetables for about 15-20 minutes. It’ll start to have a gravy-like or stew-like consistency. Make sure to stir and scrape up all the drippings.
9. Once you let it cook, add the rice in the pot and mix it all together. Leave it to sit for a little bit every now and then.
10. After about 5-8 minutes, add the mixed vegetables and the cooked meats.
11. Stir it for a few more minutes or longer to let everything cook through. Make sure to taste for seasoning and it’s done!