DVees take on Jamie Oliver’s Jollof Rice recipe

We are taking a different approach to the #jollofgate scandal….. by trying Jamie’s recipe step by step.

 Jollof Rice - Jaime Oliver Recipe

To be honest we can’t believe the uproar over the Jollof Rice recipe– it is clear that it is Jamie Oliver’s twist on West African Jollof Rice, he didn’t call it authentic jollof rice… don’t even think anyone really has the authentic Jollof rice recipe as with all recipes it has evolved and has passed down from generation to generation. Traditional Jollof uses palm oil and crayfish, the Senegalese add all sorts of meats and vegetables. Long grain rice is typically used but nowadays people use basmati for their jollof. At Dvees sometimes we cook ‘typical’ jollof which is long grain rice cooked in a tomato pepper base, sometimes we add coconut cream or add chargrilled roasted vegetables, with garlic prawns and smoked chicken.

We love contemporary Nigerian cuisine; our signature is ethnic cuisine with a twist. For example, our afrotea is the classic English afternoon tea with a West African twist, perhaps we should expect a backlash and lots of abominable comments from the English for daring to go there.

Jollof Rice - Jamie Oliver

West African food is the least experienced in the world so if Jamie Oliver decides to put a twist on Jollof rice and publish his recipe…we are still perplexed as to why this is sacrilege but first let’s critically assess Jamie’s Jollof Rice recipe:

 Imposter ingredients:

  1. 1 tsp ground coriander – [DVees: acceptable as just used to season the chicken]
  2. 1 tsp ground white pepper – [DVees: acceptable as just used to season chicken]
  3. 600g cherry tomatoes, on the vine – [DVees: not typical but used to garnish rice]
  4. A bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped, stalks finely chopped – [DVees: not typical. Parsley is a herb that is widely used as a garnish or used to flavor stews, vegetable, chicken, fish and meats dishes in Mediterranean and Middle eastern cuisine]
  5. 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve – [DVees: not typical at all. “Lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over”, for garnishing maybe, not sure we would be squeezing lemon juice over our beloved Jollof, possibly on the chicken :)]

 Ingredients proportion:

  1. Garlic – we would typically use 1 clove or no garlic at all compared to the 6 cloves that is used in Jamie’s recipe.
  2. Onions – we would typically probably use 2 onions compared to the 4 onions that is used in Jamie’s recipe.
  3. Peppers – we would use double the amount of scotch bonnet peppers that Jamie uses and add a red bell pepper (tatashe).

 Cooking process:

  • A key deviation is that he does not blend the vine-ripe tomatoes with the scotch bonnet chilli and onions which means that the rice is not cooked in a tomato pepper base and resembles Spanish tomato rice instead.
  • Also Jollof rice is typically seasoned with salt, bay leaves, thyme and curry. And lots of stock cubes, we personally think West Africans need to wean themselves off stock cubes loaded with MSG however this is a story for another day.

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Taste: The rice has a wonderful rich flavor. This is amazing considering that salt, ‘maggi’ or ‘Knorr’ stock cubes are not used to season the rice. The beautiful aroma and flavor are as a result of the lashings of garlic, onions, parsley stalks sautéed before the tomatoes and rice are added to be cooked in the saucepan. Cooking juices from the chicken and parsley leaves also add deep flavor.

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Verdict: In essence there are two ingredients that are real imposters: parsley and lemon. The proportions of tomato, onions and garlic are atypical and the rice is not cooked in a tomato pepper base however it is an excellent twist to Jollof rice. It does not taste like typical Jollof, but it is what it is, a twist to West African jollof: a delightful version that tastes like fresh Garlic & Herb Tomato Rice & Chicken. West African food is rich, captivating, bursting with spice and flavor and alien to the rest of the world, Jamie’s recipe has triggered conversation…. so lets live and let live.

Our love affair with food has always been partial to contemporary Nigerian food hence our tag line ‘Shakara Cuisine’, which is probably why we are camp #indefenceofjamieoliver.

 *Shakara Cuisine [sha-ka-ra] 

  1. Elaborate and skilfully prepared ethnic cuisine with a modern twist.

We look forward to more food conversations with other Africans and the rest of the world.

DVees

Dvees Jollof Rice

We have been urged to post our jollof rice recipe…. to be honest this should have been posted ages ago but we have so many variants on Jollof rice and…….. no excuse is good enough though. Everyone cooks their jollof rice differently; the taste of jollof even varies with the mood of the cook…. Promise you this is no myth.

However the foundations of good Jollof are the same and as we have said before, the secret to making amazing Jollof rice is love, sounds corny but Keith Floyd must have had Jollof on his mind when he said “Cooking is an art and patience a virtue. Careful shopping …. and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing – love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist“.

DVees Jollof rice recipe (Serves 8)

Dvees Jollof Rice & Stir Fried Beef with peppers
Dvees Jollof Rice & Stir Fried Beef with peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg of easy cook long grain rice (washed under running cold water in a colander to remove starch)
  • Chopped Tomatoes – 400g x 2
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1 ½ onions (Roughly chopped)
  • ½ onions (Sliced)
  • 2 Scotch bonnet peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ½ cup of sunflower oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of curry
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 Maggi cubes
  • A knob or two of butter (depends on your diet restrictions :))

Method

  1. Blend the onions, peppers and tomato and set aside
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the chopped onions on low heat for 5 minutes then stir in the tomato puree. Stir onions and tomato puree until the oil has changed to a light red colour circa 5 minutes.
  3. Add blended tomato mix to the saucepan, add bay leaf and cook for 25 minutes on medium low heat or until the oil rises to the top.
  4. Season the stew with curry, thyme, Maggi cubes (3) and salt, cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add washed rice.
  6. Cover the saucepan with foil paper and then cover with the saucepan lid; this is to ensure that steam does not escape.
  7. Cook on low heat for 30mins or until rice is al dente.
  8. Add 1 cube of Maggi, knob of butter, cover pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes. (If you want the smoky party jollof taste, increase heat and let the rice burn).
  9. Serve with fried plantains, moin-moin, stewed meat and a cold can of Maltina 🙂

Tips

  1. Use aluminum pot if you want the smoky party rice flavour
  2. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose easy cook long grain rice do not cook well in Jollof.
  3. Tolly Boy easy cook long grain rice is great.
  4. Tesco’s easy cook basmati is great if you want to use Basmati rice
  5. Use salted butter – The Agoyin women that cooked massive pots of Jollof with firewood in our backyard always used Blueband margarine. Salted butter does the trick too.
  6. When we want to do ‘shakara’, we add chargrilled roasted vegetables, with garlic butter prawns and smoked chicken at the end which adds an oomph while retaining the essence of jollof.
Jollof Rice and Jerk Chicken
DVees Coconut Scented Jollof Rice with Jerk Chicken, eggs & Broccoli Stems

 

How to make Yam Pottage aka Asaro

Yam Pottage (asaro) is a rich, slow-cooked one pot dish of yams cooked in a palm oil pepper sauce; yams are the backbone of this deceptively humble dish which should be soft and should have absorbed the aromas and savors of the other ingredients.

We must warn you that this is not a traditional recipe as we make this warming dish rich by adding sweet potatoes, smoked turkey, prawns and spinach. Try our recipe and let us know what you think or tell us how you make yours 🙂

 

Yam Pottage (Rich, slow-cooked one pot dish of yams cooked in a palm oil pepper sauce)
Yam Pottage (Rich, slow-cooked one pot dish of yams cooked in a palm oil pepper sauce)

 

Ingredients

  • 400g canned tomato plums
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 red onions
  • 1-2 scotch bonnet peppers
  • 5 slices of yam (cubed)
  • 5 slices of sweet potato (cubed)
  • 6 pieces of smoked turkey
  • 300g Prawns (cooked and peeled)
  • 2 Tbsp of crayfish
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1 cup of water
  • Salt to taste
  • Maggi crayfish seasoning cube
  • 2-3 Tbsp of palm oil

Method

  1. Blend onions, peppers and tomatoes
  2. Heat palm oil in a pot and add blended mix; fry for 10mins
  3. Season with salt and stock cubes
  4. Add crayfish, smoked turkey, yams, sweet potatoes and a cup of water; boil for 15mins or until yam chunks become soft.
  5. Use a fork to gently mash the yam leaving some yam chunks
  6. Add prawns and spinach and simmer for 5 mins

Serve and enjoy

 “The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking: love, for those you are cooking for” – Sophia Loren

 

Coconut scented Jollof Rice with Jerk Style Chicken, sliced boiled egg and broccoli stems

rice n jerk 2

A tantalising picture to launch the DVees Jollof Rice Series – watch this space  🙂

PS: One of DVees actually hates boiled egg and is probably the only one we know that hates it. In her words “I judge anyone who eats boiled egg, yes including you” lool. Can you guess who? V1? V2? V3? V4?

Beans in pepper stew – Bunny Chow style

Beans and Bunny Chow are both dishes that originated as food for the ‘common man’: cheap and practical. Today it does not matter what your station in life is: Nigerians love their Beans and Durbanites love their Bunny chow.

Beans in pepper stew popularly known as Ewa is a traditional Nigerian dish of beans served with a spicy pepper sauce in red palm oil thickened with ground-dried crayfish.

Growing up I saw people run after the hawkers as they carried the ‘ewa’ in black pots on their heads. They would serve the beans in aluminum pans or bowls; press the middle of the beans so that they could put the pepper stew in the middle. It’s amazing with Agege bread (sweet, dense and chewy bread named after a city called Agege in Lagos State, Nigeria).

I would love to feel among and say that I ate this growing up but I didn’t. We weren’t ‘really’ allowed to buy cooked food from the streets. Excluding Agege bread which my dad didn’t approve of but my mum bought anyway…… and food she ordered from Ghana High (food stall under the bridge) when we visited her office in Marina, Lagos or Amala and Ewedu from Amala Shittu (another famous road side food seller in Surulere) when we visited her Crèche.  My mum upped our street cred.  I also remember an uncle buying Ogogoro aka Sapele water aka palm wine once from a tapper on his bicycle for us (obviously my parents weren’t home). Hopefully this post brings back good memories for those that were lucky enough to eat this culinary delicacy growing up…

BeansBread

Bunny Chow is a South African fast food dish consisting of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry. The bunny chow was created in Durban.

One story has it that a restaurant run by people known as Banias (an Indian caste) first created the scooped-out bread and curry dish at a restaurant-cum-cafe called Kapitan’s on the corner of Victoria and Albert streets in Durban. The food was a means to serve take-aways to excluded people. During the apartheid regime, Indians were not allowed in certain shops and cafes and so the shop owners found a way of serving the people through back windows, etc. This was an easy and effective way to serve the workers.

Another account suggests that Indian migrant workers used it as a way of carrying their lunches to the field; the hollowed out loaf of bread was a convenient way to transport their vegetarian curries……. Source: http://bunny-chow.co.uk/

I randomly discovered the Bunny Chow last year and saved it in my ‘to try’ recipe folder. In the meantime I thought it was a great way to serve ‘Ewa’ which is usually eaten with bread too 🙂

Beans in pepper stew Recipe (serves 6)

Ingredient list

  • 500g honey black eye beans
  • 3  onions (chopped)
  • 1 onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup of palm oil
  • 2 medium onions (roughly chopped for blending)
  • 3 red bell peppers (roughly chopped for blending)
  • 3 scotch bonnet peppers (roughly chopped for blending)
  • 3 Tsp of crayfish, ground
  • 2 stock cubes (Magi Crayfish)
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Put beans, chopped onions and 10 cups of water in a pot and leave on low heat for 3 hours or until bean is very soft (add salt to taste after 1 hour).
  2. Blend the medium onions, bell peppers and scotch bonnet peppers, pour mixture into a dry pot and boil until dry (15 – 20 mins)
  3. Heat the palm oil in a dry pot for 3 mins, add sliced onions and stir for  3 mins
  4. Add boiled pepper mixture to palm oil and allow to fry on low heat for 8 mins
  5. Stir in ground crayfish and stock cubes, and add salt to taste, continue to fry on low heat for an additional 7-10mins
  6. Stir well  and then serve with cooked beans

Tip

  • Fried plantain or agege bread are wonderful accompaniments
  • Beans will cook faster in a pressure cooker.

 

BeansPrawns