Jollof rice, a spicy fried rice and vegetable dish popular in West Africa, can make a great addition to the holiday table.

This recipe and information originally appeared on

Jollof rice probably originated from rice dishes eaten by the Wolof people of Senegal and Gambia, but its popularity has spread to most of West Africa, especially Nigeria and Ghana. Based on rice, tomatoes and usually meat or fish, it is believed by some to be the origin of Cajun jambalaya. The Gambian version is called benachin. Also spelled jolof or djolof rice.

4 to 6 servings


  • Oil — 1/4 cup
  • Chicken, cut into pieces — 1 1/2 pounds
  • Water or stock — 5 cups
  • Onions, chopped — 2
  • Red or green bell pepper, chopped — 1
  • Garlic, minced — 3-4 cloves
  • Long-grain rice — 3 cups
  • Tomato paste — 1/4 cups
  • Tomatoes, chopped — 2 cups
  • Carrots, peeled and chopped — 2
  • Green beans — 1 cup
  • Cabbage, chopped — 1 cup
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large pot. Working in batches, add the chicken and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken to another large pot and add the water or stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. While the chicken simmers, pour all but 2-3 tablespoons of oil out of the first pot. Heat the oil over medium flame, add the onions and peppers and sauté until the onions are wilted and translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Stir the rice into the onions and peppers and heat through for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste to coat the rice and give it a reddish hue. Add the chopped tomatoes and let them cook down for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the chicken and its simmering liquid into the rice pot and add the carrots, green beans and cabbage. Season well with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, let rest another 10 minutes. Remove to a serving platter and serve with dodo, sliced hard-boiled eggs and a side salad.


  • There are many variations of jollof rice. Feel free to improvise using what you meats and vegetables you have on hand. Try beef, ham, shrimp, fish, goat or pork. For vegetables, add peas, potatoes, eggplant or mushrooms
  • Beef Jollof Rice: substitute cubed stewing beef for the chicken. After browning the beef, simmer in liquid for 45 minutes before adding to the sautéed rice mixture.
  • Vegetarian Jollof Rice: simply eliminate the meat and stir hot water or vegetable stock into the sautéed rice mixture.
  • Optional spices that can be used to flavor the dish are cinnamon, curry powder or cayenne. Some minced chile peppers can be sautéed with the onions to add extra bite.