This meal is served at least twice a week in most Nigerian homes, a familiar dish from west Africa, except there are no children in such homes. Whenever mum is preparing JOLLOF rice, most children, especially those in less privileged families, feel excited and call it party rice.


The jollof rice has many regional variations in name and ingredients for the popular dish. The most common name: Jollof, is derived from the name of the Wolof people, though in Senegal and Gambia, the plate is referred to in Wolof as ceebu jën or benachin. Did you know? This meal is called zaamè in Bamanankan Mali. The French-speaking areas call it riz au grass. 


With variations, this dish is “mutually intelligible” across the regions and has become the best known African dish outside the continent.

The most embraced theory for the expansion of the dish explains Jollof Rice as having its origins in the Senegambia region of West Africa, in the ancient Wolof or Jolof Empire, during the 14th-16th century.


The origins of jollof rice base on its name are in the Senegambian region by the Jolof Empire. The former empire is now in modern-day Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania. James C. McCann, a food and agriculture historian, considers this claim plausible given the popularity of rice in the upper Niger valley but finds it unlikely that the dish could have spread from Senegal to its current range in “linguistic, historical or political patterns”.

Although, he planned to spread the dish with the Malian empire, especially the Djula businessmen and women who dispersed widely to the regional commercial and urban centres, taking economic arts of “blacksmithing, small-scale marketing, and rice fibre” as well as the religion of Islam.


Dufumier, Emeritus Professor of Agronomy, put forward a more recent origin for the dish, which may only have appeared due to the colonial promotion of concerted peanut cropping for the french oil industry in central Senegal.

 And where equivalent reduction in the planted area of traditional millet and sorghum staples by forced imported from southeast Asia crushed rice.


It may then have extended throughout the region through the historical merchant, cultural and religious passage linking Senegal with Ghana, Nigeria, and beyond, numerous of which continue to flourish today, such as the Tijāniyyah Sufi brotherhood accompanying thousands of West African pilgrims to Senegal annually.



Due to the variation in regional recipes, the various regions where jollof rice is ordinary are competitive over which variant tastes the best, especially between Nigeria and Ghana. These dissimilarities have brought about the “Jollof Wars” between Nigeria and Ghana.



Although significant variation exists, the pivotal profile for Nigerian jollof rice comprises long grain parboiled rice, tomatoes with tomato paste, pepper, vegetable oil, onions, and stock cubes. Prepare all ingredients in one pot, of which a fried tomato and pepper puree shapes the foundation. 


Rice is later added and left to cook in the liquid. The meal is then served with the protein of choice and often with fried plantains, Moi Moi, steamed vegetables, coleslaw, salad etc.


In the riverine areas of Nigeria, where the seafood is the primary source of protein, these meals often take the place of chicken or meat as the protein of choice,

 and there is a contrast of the classic jollof rice, including coconut jollof rice, fisherman jollof rice (made with prawns, periwinkles, crayfish), mixed vegetable jollof rice, and rice and beans.


More economical versions of jollof rice are commonly referred to amidst Nigerians as “concoction rice,” the composition of which can require as little as rice and pepper.



Ghanaian jollof rice with vegetable oil, onion, bell pepper, cloves of pressed garlic, chillies, tomato paste, beef or goat meat or chicken

 (sometimes alternated with mixed vegetables), local or refined rice and black pepper.

The method of cooking Jollof begins with first preparing the beef or chicken by seasoning and frying it until it is well-cooked. Fry all ingredients together, starting from onions, pepper, tomato paste, tomatoes and spices in that order. 


After frying, all the ingredients, add the rice and cook.

Eat Ghanaian Jollof with beef, chicken, well-seasoned fried fish, or mixed vegetables.


Ghana Jollof serves alongside shito, a popular type of pepper from Ghana, and salad during parties and other ceremonies.



Ingredients for Jollof rice traditionally, irrespective of region, consists of rice, cooking oil, vegetables such as tomato, onion, red pepper, garlic, ginger and scotch bonnet. Improves the colour, add tomato paste (purée). As for seasoning, use spices, salt, seasoning/stock cubes (a blend of flavour enhancers, salt, nutmeg and herbs), curry powder and dried thyme. After finishing the dish, serve chicken, turkey, beef, or fish with the plate.


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