Sunday, 29 July 2012

Olympic Food Challenge: Jollof Rice - Nigeria

Nigeria have fifty-five competitors competing in eight disciplines at the London 2012 Olympics, hoping to break their 16 year gold-medal drought.  I learn so much about the world from Wikipedia.  Sir Tim Berners-Lee is continuing to help rectify the average secondary education that I had.  For that, and Twitter, I salute you sir.

As for the country, Nigeria is the 7th most populous country in the world and the most populous country in Africa with just over 166m inhabitants but is only the 32nd largest country in the world by land area.  Most importantly, the cuisine is colourful and vibrant with the typical West African spicing.  (Because it says so on Wikipedia, so it must be true).

Jollof is a rice-based dish, and the only reason I picked it was because I was amused by the claim on the website that it's a vegetarian breakfast dish.  I'm assuming that the author considers chicken eaten at breakfast to be quite alright within the confines of a vegetarian diet.

Vegetarian Jollof - with extra chicken
Whilst pondering this post, I Googled other recipes and was interested to see the variance in ingredients.  BBC Good Food has a recipe that adds bell peppers and Okra.  If you ask Wikipedia, it says that Jollof is a rice dish, cooked with tomatoes and spices which you can then add vegetables and meat or fish to.  It's a dish common throughout West Africa, but mine definitely came from a website stating it was the Nigerian version. 

It was a doddle to cook - pretty much like doing a paella but with less faff.  I was intrigued by the addition of Lea & Perrins.  I never would've thought that you could buy something like that in Nigeria - but I am happy to stand corrected.  The best bit was the slightly burnt bits from the bottom of the pan where the sauce 'caught' as the rice had absorbed all of the liquid.

We had it for tea because I couldn't face the idea of a chicken and rice dish for breakfast.  Miss A liked hers, although I'm sure she only ate so much because we bribed her with the promise of a summer pudding cupcake if she finished - we knew she wouldn't.  The husband was intrigued (he had Mary Berry's Chicken Tikka with Dan Lepard's Naans) because it looked just like red rice with Chicken - his Wednesday night staple.  Sadly he spotted it was packed with carrots, peas and French beans.  The closest he gets to a vegetable is when I put his sandwiches in the fridge behind a lettuce.  I enjoyed it and would definitely cook it again as a way of getting veg into the family.  I may just try some other veg like bell peppers in place of carrots and then the husband may just try some.

I think we have our first silver medal on this blog.

You can find the recipe I used here.  Vegetarians, beware!

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