Jollof is fun to make and tastes good as a reward

This Sunday I wanted to share another popular African dish; Jollof rice.

A favourite in Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana - in fact, all of west Africa - this rice dish is cooked in a tomato sauce and can be served with chicken, other meats or fish.

The jury is still out on which of these countries make the best tasting version of this dish, many heated arguments haveensued over what has been dubbed "The jollof wars", but I think we can all agree that they each taste great.

Jollof rice & chicken

  • 2 cups of long grain rice
  •  1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  •  1-1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 1 large size tomato, chopped cayenne pepper or black pepper to taste
  • 1 pimento pepper and 1 habanero pepper. (All blended together)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a bowl, toss the chicken thighs with the spices.
  • Add a glug of oil to a large saucepan and fry the chicken over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, until browned all over.
  •  Transfer the chicken to a medium-sized roasting pan and cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown, adding the cherry tomatoes to the pan halfway through.
  • In same pan, saute the onions and garlic for about 1 minute then add curry powder and fry for another minute. Add the tomato paste. Fry for a few seconds then add the blended peppers. Season with thyme, bay leaves and cayenne pepper
  • Stir in the rice until it is well coated with the sauce then add the chicken stock and water. Cover with a tight fitting lid and allow it to come to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the rice is done. Serve with the chicken.

FOOD TREND

I tried another rice dish that is fast becoming popular; poke bowl.

Poke (pronounced poh-kay) is the new dish that is as tasty as it is visually appealing, plus packed with healthy, raw ingredients.

Packed with lots of colourful vegetable and fruit, it's easy to see why it has become a firm favourite with instagrammers.

There are also "Poke bars" - restaurants dedicated to this aesthetically pleasing dish, like the Hokey Poke in Cape Town.

The structure is usually raw, cubed fish such as salmon and a variety of fruit and vegetable served on a bed of sushi rice or noodles.

Picture the combination of the pink of salmon, the yellow of pineapple, the white of rice, the green of span peas, the orange of carrots and the purple of red cabbage.

The poke bowl is often considered "the next generation of sushi," because of its popularity and similarity of ingredients such as soy sauce, sesame seeds, sushi rice and salmon.

Soon you will be seeing this rice dish pop up on menus at good restaurants everywhere.

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