A kind of west African paella, Jollof Rice makes an excellent buffet dish for parties. You can put in as many kinds of meat as you like or can afford - or no meat at all. Shrimp makes an extravagant but wonderful addition. Use a heavy pot or large cast iron skillet to discourage burning; stirring often is the key to success. A large wooden spoon works well as an implement. Whatever pot you use, you’ll need to be able to cover it tightly. If you don’t have a lid, try using an oven-proof plate or platter.


1 - 2 chickens, chopped into small pieces

oil for frying

6 medium onions, chopped

4 green bell peppers, chopped

¼ - ½ lb. shrimp

¾ cup carrots, chopped

¾ cup string beans, broken into pieces

¾ cup peas

6 tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 - 2 tsp. cayenne pepper

sprig of thyme, crushed, or 1 tsp. dried thyme

3 - 4 cups rice

¼ - ½ cup tomato paste


In a heavy pot large enough to hold everything, brown the chickens in oil. Add onions and peppers and cook over medium heat for 5 - 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, sauté the shrimp in a small amount of oil and pre-cook the carrots, beans and peas - or other vegetables of your choice - until about half done, 5 minutes or so. (You may boil them all together if you like.) Drain the vegetables and add, along with the shrimp, tomatoes, salt, peppers and thyme to the chicken pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Combine rice with tomato paste, which should coat the rice grains without drowning them. (In the finished dish, rice should be tinted orange; too much tomato paste will make it red.)Stir into the pot and continue to simmer, adding water sparingly to avoid burning. When meat, rice and vegetables are tender, Jollof Rice is ready to serve.

Variations: Eliminate meat for a good vegetarian main dish, and experiment with a variety of vegetables.


Serves 6 - 8.


country : Gambia

course : poultry dish


source : The Africa News Cookbook : African Cooking for Western Kitchens / Tami Hultman