Jollof rice /ˈdʒɒləf/, also called Benachin (Wolof: "one pot"), is
a one-pot rice dish popular in many West African countries.
1 Geographical range and origin
3 Nigerian and Ghanaian debate
3.1 Nigerian Jollof
3.2 Ghanaian Jollof
4 See also
Geographical range and origin
Jollof rice is one of the most common dishes in Western Africa,
consumed throughout the regions of Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia, Ghana,
Sierra Leone, Togo, Liberia, Ivory Coast,
Cameroon and Mali. There are
several regional variations in name and ingredients. The name
Jollof rice derives from the name of the Wolof people, though in
Gambia the dish is referred to in Wolof as theibou dienne
or benachin. In French-speaking areas, it is called riz au gras.
Despite the variations, the dish is "mutually intelligible" across the
region, and has spread along with the diaspora to become the best
known African dish outside the continent.
Based on its name, the origins of
Jollof rice can be traced to the
Senegambian region that was ruled by the Jolof Empire. Food and
agriculture historian James C. McCann considers this claim plausible
given the popularity of rice in the upper Niger valley, but considers
it unlikely that the dish could have spread from
Senegal to its
current range since such a diffusion is not seen in "linguistic,
historical or political patterns". Instead he proposes that the dish
spread with the
Mali empire, especially the Djula tradespeople who
dispersed widely to the regional commercial and urban centers, taking
with them economic arts of "blacksmithing, small-scale marketing, and
rice agronomy" as well as the religion of Islam.
Jollof rice and salad, served with grilled chicken
The dish consists of rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onions, salt,
spices (such as nutmeg, ginger, and cumin) and chili peppers (such as
Scotch bonnet); optional ingredients can be added such as vegetables,
meats, or fish. Due to the tomato paste and palm oil, the dish is
mainly red in colour. The recipe differs from one region to
The main ingredients of
Jollof rice are rice and tomatoes; neither has
any saturated fat or cholesterol.
Jollof rice contains
carbohydrates, primarily from the rice. Since
Jollof rice is served
with chicken, beef, eggs and/or turkey, the dish is fairly high in
protein. Fish is also another alternative to these meats, and can
provide the dish with omega-3 fatty acids, as well as some protein.
Vegetarians often choose to eat
Jollof rice with salad or cole slaw
instead of meat, and gain vitamins and minerals.
Tomatoes also play a
primary role in rice, and provide a good amount of vitamins and
On the event of special occasions such as birthdays, weddings or baby
showers, the dish can be presented and served made into shapes,
overall a more formal presentation of the dish. As an option, fried
plantain can also be placed on top, or beside the Jollof rice, and
then various meats are added around the rest of the dish.
Nigerian and Ghanaian debate
There are multiple regions in
Africa who debate over the geographical
origins of Jollof rice. However, one of the most vigorous Jollof rice
rivalries has been between Nigerians and Ghanaians. The main argument
in this debate is currently centered on which country's Jollof rice
tastes better. The reason for the debate is due to the huge popularity
of Jollof rice, in regards to West African cuisine. Both
Ghana have shown consistent competitiveness over the debate as to who
can serve the dish the best. The debate has gone so far as to even
having organized contest shows, in order for famous critics from all
over the world to taste, examine the differences, and give their
overall judgments on either forms of the dish. Recently, social media
has also become a popular tool for people to share pictures, and
opinions over who serves the dish the best.
Although considerable variation exists, the basic profile for Nigerian
jollof rice includes long grain parboiled rice, tomatoes and tomato
paste, pepper, vegetable oil, onions and stock cubes. Most of the
ingredients are cooked in one pot, of which a fried tomato and pepper
puree characteristically forms the base.
Rice is then added and left
to cook in the liquid. The dish is then served with the protein of
choice and very often with fried plantains, moi moi, steamed
vegetables, coleslaw, salad, etc.
In the riverine areas of
Nigeria where seafood is the main source of
protein, seafood often takes the place of chicken or meat as the
protein of choice and there are variations of the classic jollof rice;
including coconut jollof rice, fisherman jollof rice (made with
prawns, periwinkles, crayfish), mixed vegetables jollof rice, and rice
and beans. More economically friendly versions of jollof rice are
popularly referred to among Nigerians as “concoction rice,” the
preparation of which can involve as little as rice and pepper.
Jollof rice is made up of vegetable oil, onion, bell pepper,
cloves of pressed garlic, chillies, tomato paste, beef or goat meat or
chicken (some times alternated with mixed vegetables), jasmine or
basmati rice and black pepper. The method of cooking Jollof rice
begins with first preparing the beef or chicken by seasoning and
frying it until it is well cooked The rest of the ingredients are
then fried all together, starting from onions, tomatoes and spices in
that order. After all the ingredients have been fried, rice is then
added and cooked until the meal is prepared. Ghanaian Jollof is
typically served with side dishes of beef/chicken/well seasoned and
fried fish and/or mixed vegetables.
Ghanaian Jollof is mostly made with long grain perfume rice giving
their jollof a rich and mouthwatering sight and a lovely aroma. Jollof
Ghana is also served alongside shito ( a popular type of pepper
which originates from Ghana) and salad during parties and other
ceremonies. It is also prepared with any protein of choice hence,
Ghanaians have variations of
Jollof rice such as ‘Beef’ ‘Goat
meat’ ‘Chicken’ and ‘corned beef’ Jollof rice.
Charleston red rice
Arroz con pollo
List of African dishes
^ a b Ayto, John (2012). "Jollof rice". The Diner's Dictionary: Word
Origins of Food and Drink (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.
p. 188. ISBN 978-0199640249.
^ a b c McCann, James C. (2009). A west African culinary grammar".
Stirring the Pot: A History of African Cuisine. Ohio University Press.
pp. 133–135. ISBN 978-0896802728.
^ Brasseaux, Ryan A.; Brasseaux, Carl A. (1 February 2014).
"Jambalaya". In Edge, John T. The New Encyclopedia of Southern
Culture: Volume 7: Foodways. University of North Carolina Press.
p. 188. ISBN 978-1-4696-1652-0.
^ Anderson, E. N. (7 February 2014). Everyone Eats: Understanding Food
and Culture, Second Edition. NYU Press. p. 106.
^ a b c Davidson, Alan (11 August 2014). "Jollof rice". The Oxford
Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. p. 434.
^ Osseo-Asare, Fran (1 January 2005). Food Culture in Sub-Saharan
Africa. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 33, 162.
^ Ferruzza, Charles (October 1, 2013). "Esther's African Cuisine
leaves the light on for you". The Pitch. Retrieved 2013-10-08. Meals
are served with white rice or, for an upcharge, an extraordinary
concoction of rice cooked with tomatoes, carrots, onions, peas and
shredded chicken called Jealof rice. 'It's the Sunday dish in my
country,' [Esther] Mulbah says. It's hearty and comforting, as a side
or a full meal.
^ "Nigerian Jollof
Rice & Chicken Recipe". Calorie Count. Archived
from the original on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November
^ Oderinde, Busayo. "Busayo Oderinde: The Nigerian Versus Ghanaian
Rice Debate". Bella Naija. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
^ a b "Ghana: Jollof Rice". The African Food Map. Retrieved 15
Central African Republic
São Tomé and Príncipe
Ethnic and regional cuisines
List of African cuisines
List of African dishes
List of rice dishes
List of fried rice dishes
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