There are certain opinions that I believe should not be shared publicly. For example, you better be ready to throw hands if you throw shade around Rihanna’s name or you utter the word ‘horrible’ around anything Game of Thrones related (except season 8 of course) or God forbid, you call the reddish-orange spicy goodness that is Jollof rice ‘overhyped’, this last example, in particular, is considered blasphemy to anyone of West African Origin.
If you recently stumbled across what is loosely known as “African Twitter,” or other African social media spaces, you might have seen repeated mentions of Jollof rice. It’s a big deal, and a cause of endless banter for those on the continent, and in the diaspora.
If you’ve been living under a rock and have no idea what it is, Jollof Rice is a popular dish eaten in most parts of West Africa, most notably Nigeria, Senegal, The Gambia, and Ghana. Though many of the dishes share similarities, there are variations in what it is called and differences in the kind of ingredients used for its preparation. Several theories exist as to how Jollof Rice came to be but it is important to note that the meal has dispersed throughout West Africa and there is no recorded history to prove one country’s ownership over the meal.
Jollof Rice prepared the Nigerian way, includes ingredients such as long grain parboiled rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, pepper, vegetable oil, onions, and stock cubes. Additional condiments such as chicken or meat stock, curry powder, garlic, white pepper, crayfish, and bay leaves also add to the taste/flavour of the Jollof Rice.
Popular accompaniments to the meal will include tasty foods like fried plantains, Moi Moi, steamed vegetables, coleslaw, and Nigerian salad.
For that extra kick in your Nigerian Jollof Rice? You should ask for “Party Jollof Rice”- a smokier version of the dish that is often cooked in a cast iron pot over firewood or charcoal fire.
Jollof rice for Nigerians, in particular, is what the Eiffel Tower is to Parisians or what Big Ben is to Londoners, It is recognized all over the world and is one of the most prominent symbols of West Africa.. It is so important culturally to West Africans that it is wrong for you to visit a West African nation and not try their take on Jollof Rice.
Foreigners and tourists during their visit to Nigeria always talk about how Nigerian Jollof is one of the things they look forward to trying during their stay. Jollof rice symbolizes what it means to be Nigerian and is something all Nigerians can identify with.
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