Baked Nigerian Jollof Rice & Chicken

As you might have heard in the podcast with Genevieve, usually you do not bake Jollof rice. You rather let it simmer over a low heat for a while. I however recently became a fan of Yewende Komolafe – a Nigerian lady who was asked by the New York Times to do her take on 10 Essential Nigerian recipes. Jollof was one of them. As she says in the video, she chooses to bake hers since it saves a lot of time. I agree. However, when I do it the right way, I’ll be sure to add the recipe to the blog.

For the Chicken I adapted a recipe from allrecipes.com.

Here is my take on Nigerian Jollof.

COOCKING TIME: 1 1/2 hours SERVES: 8 to 10

Ingredients:

For the Chicken:

  • 1kg of chicken pieces (drumstick and thighs)
  • 1 red onion
  • 15g of fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 1 cup of water

For the Obe ata (the fragrant red sauce):

  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 ripe tamatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, same amount as the garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 red habanero chilli, stem taken off
  • 2 tablespoons oil of your choice like Sunflower or Canola

For the rice:

  • ½ cup of oil of your choice like Sunflower or Canola
  • 2 medium red onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 cups parboiled long-grain rice
  • 5 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh bay leaf / 2 dried ones
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock

Method:

Chicken:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C. Starting with the chicken, place into a large oven proof pan with a lid over a medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, crushed stock cubes, garlic, curry powder. Herbs, pepper and cayenne pepper. Mix well and cook until the chicken starts to stick to the bottom. This should take 5 minutes. Pour in the water, mix and the cover the pot. Let’ it simmers gently and cook for 10 minutes then remove from the heat. If you are good with multi-tasking in the kitchen, now would be a good time to start prepping the ingredients for the obe ata.
  2. Now transfer the chicken to a baking tray and reserve the cooking liquid. Now pop the chicken into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Starting with the cooking process of the obe ate while the chicken bakes is a good shout.
  3. Once done reserve until later by adding the chicken and the reserved cooking liquid to a bowl.

Obe ata:

  1. Your oven should be preheated 180 °C if you cooked the chicken. If only doing the jollof rice, preheat your oven to 180 °C. Prep all the ingredients for the obe ata. Then combine all the ingredients except the oil in a blender and purée until smooth. You should have about three cups of obe ate. If not add some water to get to three cups.
  2. Now, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sized oven proof saucepan. Pro-tip; use the same one that you used for the chicken for less clean up. Add the obe ata to the oil and bring it to a gentle simmer. Reduce your heat and let it cook for 18-20 minutes.
  3. Once done transfer to a separate bowl and use the same pan for the rice.

Rice:

  1. Heat ½ cup of oil in a large oven proof pan for about 1 minute. Add the onions and cook for about 6-8 minuets while stirring frequently. Remove half of the onions and reserve for later. Now add the garlic, tomato paste, turmeric and smoked paprika and cook for about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the obe ata and bring to a simmer. Once simmering add your rice and stir it in. Add the bay leave and time and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the stock and then cover with a lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook for about 35 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes without taking the lid off. Once the time is up open it up and fluff the rice with a fork. Also add in the reserved onions and the chicken. Serve warm.