Perfect Jollof Rice Recipe

This beloved West African dish pairs perfectly with red chicken and fried plantains.
Photo by Ian Stroud

Servings: 6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 3 hours


for the red sauce:
1 cup|225 grams tomato paste
1 tablespoon curry powder
6 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
3 large red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 seasoning cubes, such as Maggi
1 small habanero or Scotch bonnet chili
1 (3-inch) piece ginger, peeled
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
kosher salt, to taste

for the chicken stew:
¼ cup|60 ml vegetable oil
6 chicken leg quarters
kosher salt, to taste
6 cups|1.5 liters finished red sauce
1 teaspoon crayfish powder


for the rice:
1 ⅓ cups|290 ml vegetable oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 small habanero chile or Scotch bonnet chile, minced
1 ½ cups|300 grams jasmine rice
¾ cups|200 grams finished red sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
kosher salt, to taste

for the plantains:
2 ripe plantains
canola oil, for frying
kosher salt, to taste


  1. Make the red sauce: Working in batches, place all of the ingredients, except for the oil, in a blender and purée until smooth. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add the sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water has been cooked out and the mixture is thick, about 45 minutes. Season with salt and set aside. You should have about 7 cups.
  2. Make the chicken stew: Season the chicken all over with salt. Heat the oil in a large saucepan fitted with a lid over medium-high. Working in batches, cook the chicken, flipping once, until browned on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Once the chicken has all been browned, add the red sauce to deglaze the pan. Nestle the chicken legs in the red sauce, taking care to insure they are submerged, and cover. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Keep warm.
  3. Make the rice: Heat the oven to 350°F. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan fitted with a lid over medium. Add the tomato paste and chili and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice begins to taste and turn golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the red sauce and cook 2 minutes more, then stir in the salt and 2 cups water. Cover and pop it in the oven. Cook for about 18 minutes. Then remove from the oven and let sit. For 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let sit another 5 minutes. Season with salt and keep warm.
  4. Fry the plantains: Heat 1-inch canola oil in a a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add the plantains and cook, turning as needed, until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.
  5. To serve, divide the chicken, rice, and plantains among six plates and enjoy.

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