Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

Jollof Rice, A West African-Inspired Dish

Jolloff Rice

A West African dish, Jollof Rice, or Benachin,  is similar to Latin American’s Arroz Con Pollo, a Spanish Paella, Louisiana’s Jambalaya or Korean Bibimbap. The ground spices, such as cumin, coriander and chilies, are what make this rice dish unique and spicy, and these ingredients are mentioned in Oldways‘ African Heritage Diet Pyramid. This is an Americanize version with cinnamon and wine, for Senegal is a Muslim country which doesn’t use alcohol in their food. This recipe is adapted from The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson. It’s a beautiful, cultural cookbook illustrated with photos of people, ingredients and cuisines of the African continent.

Jollof Rice
Originally posted on

1/4 cup unsalted butter or coconut oil
(Optional) 4 chicken sausages with lamb castings removed*
1-3 lb. chicken, cut into 10 pieces, lightly seasoned with Harissa spice blend (found at specialty stores)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground caraway
1/2 smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 medium or 1 large red onion
1 green pepper, diced
2 to 3 celery stalks, diced
2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
10 tomatoes, chopped or 1-28 oz. canned Plum tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapeño chilies, seeds and ribs discarded, finely diced
1-1/2 cup long-grain white Basmati rice
2-1/2 cup chicken stock
(Optional) 1/2 cup red wine
4 scallions, sliced thin; plus more for garnish
1-1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed or if using fresh, blanched
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter or coconut oil over medium heat. Add chicken and brown on both sides. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.

2. Drain pot of excessive butter/liquid, but leave 2 tbsp. of oil. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, spices and the cinnamon sticks. Stir for 30 seconds. Add green pepper, celery, jalapeño chilies, salt and pepper. Stir until vegetables soften. {Optional: Add the chicken sausage and cook until done}

3. Return chicken parts back to the pot. Add bay leaves, tomatoes, rice, chicken stock and wine (optional). Cover and adjust heat to a simmer.

4. Cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the peas and the scallions. Adjust seasoning.

5. Garnish with more scallions and enjoy.

*Note: If the casing is pork or the sausage size is large, use 2 chicken sausages.


About Kwanzaa Culinarians is group of food bloggers of African descent collaborating together to share recipes and stories celebrating Kwanzaa. Besides sharing recipes, Kwanzaa Culinarians recognizes food-related influencers with thought-provoking stories and discussions within Kwanzaa’s principles of supporting the African Diaspora community.


This entry was posted on December 9, 2011 by in 2011, Recipe and tagged , , , , , , , .

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Us Via:

Follow Me on Pinterest

Looking for previous stories?

December 2011
« Nov   Jan »
%d bloggers like this: