The never-ending rivalry between Nigerians and Ghanaians. For foreigners who do not know what Jollof means. Jollof is referred to as jollof-rice, it is a West African dish made of rice and other ingredients such as tomatoes, vegetable oil, chicken or beef, onions, and some seasonings. In Nigeria, this is usually for ceremonial occasions, which has yielded another name for it in Nigeria called party Jollof.
Although, there is a difference between jollof rice made within closed doors and one made on our traditional firewood that adds a smoky flavor to the taste. With its seductive aroma, deep-red color, and spicy flavor, it remains the queen of West African kitchens. Gone are the days when our mothers cooked Jollof rice on firewood, I often wonder how they got the unique taste without all the protocols we observe today while cooking, for example, a kitchen scale, measuring cups, foil papers, and a lot more which still sometimes does not produce that unique Jollof rice taste we experienced while growing up.
Have we even thought about the origin of this recipe? It originated from the ancient Wolof empire, also called the Jolof Empire. It spans across part of today’s Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania when it was referred to as thieboudienne. Surprised right? Yes, it did not originate from either Nigeria or Ghana, but somehow found its way to our top recipe books and has come to stay.
Back to the rivalry, there isn’t a major difference between them, both are made from the same ingredients, the only difference is the rice used. Nigerians prefer the rice separated that is long grain rice and not mashed up, the reason most Nigerian chefs prefer to parboil the rice before preparing the dish. However, the Ghanaians prefer short-grain rice based on some arguments that it is healthier to eat unprocessed rice to get the original flavor. This dish is often served with deep-fried meat or chicken with a touch of plantain by the side.
With the various analysis above, I still believe the taste is unique to the palate of the nationals of both countries therefore a comparison cannot be made. What appeals to Mr. A might not appeal to Mr. B.
I would wrap up by giving us a simple Jollof rice recipe, the steps below:
- Get your rice, wash thoroughly with clean water and cook for about 10mins.
- After the 10mins, take off the stove, drain the water, then wash again to reduce the starch content.
- Get your tomatoes, pepper, and onions, wash and blend till it is smooth.
- Add oil to a pot, allow to heat up a little bit, add some sliced onions, allow to fry, then add your tomato, pepper, and onion mix with tomato paste, leave to fry for about 30 minutes, this might be longer or shorter depending on the quantity you are making.
- After a thorough fry, add some water, seasoning and chicken stock then leave to boil.
- Once it is boiling, add your parboiled rice and allow to cook till the water gets dry.
- Once the water dries up, leave to steam for some minutes.
- Serve with beef/chicken and some plantain toppings.