Jollof rice, a well-seasoned, tomato-based rice dish, is one of the most popular African dishes with huge cultural significance, especially in West and Central Africa. I cannot speak for all of the other countries but as a Nigerian myself, I can safely say that it is impossible to attend any type of Nigerian social gathering, be it a wedding, funeral or birthday party, without jollof rice as an option on the menu (some would go as far to say it is not a party if there is no jollof rice!).

Jollof rice is a spiced dish, simmered in reduced tomatoes, onions, peppers, and different seasonings depending on where it’s made. Senegal is widely considered to be the motherland of jollof rice, but the regional spread of jollof equated to changes and differences in the recipes that exist today. Nowadays, this has led to real-life banter between Africans over which African country has the best recipe with the most intense debate happening between Nigerians and Ghanaians.

Regardless, of which country has the best recipe, I do consider that the versatility of the dish is one of the reasons why it is so popular. Nigerians, usually cook the rice plain and then add side dishes such as fried plantain, chicken and salad to be eaten with it but some other countries cook vegetables and mix it in with the rice itself. Additionally, because the recipe is on its face, quite simple (though the execution does require a decent level of cooking ability), it is easily adaptable to ones pallet and dietary requirements.  

To celebrate Black History Month, a few of us at Anthony Collins Solicitors including myself, cooked our own versions of jollof rice, showing how the simple dish can be made in so many different ways (see photos below). If you want to try the dish yourself, click here for a recipe for Nigerian jollof rice. As long as the essence of the dish remains the same, feel free to add your own twist to the recipe to suit your taste.