🇳🇬 Nigeria | Jollof Rice

Recipes and Resources :

Immaculate Ruemu’s Smoky Party-Style Jollof 

Pretty good rundown about jollof rice from the BBC

Jollof Rice and other Revolutions: A novel of interlocking stories. By Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi. (Not really a book about jollof rice but it kept popping up in my research and it has excellent reviews so I’ve started reading it).

TL;DR. This recipe was DELICIOUS and gets a solid A+, while I get an F for research and accuracy. Will do better in future. Scroll down to the second last paragraph (just after the photos) if you’d like a review of the actual recipe and not paragraphs of introspection about my own ineptitude!

This dish  taught me just how much I have to learn.

The cooking technique isn’t difficult, and the instructions were easy to follow. The final product was totally bomb, so it’s not like this was a failed recipe either. However, I completely misattributed this particular recipe to the wrong country which has opened a whole can of worms and made me realise that I’m not ‘simply’ making one recipe from each country.

The origins of some dishes are complicated due to shifting political borders, colonialism, wars, and in many cases lost or murky history. Also, many countries lay claim to dishes which have the same name, but different preparations.

Enter jollof rice. 

My ‘research’ style thus far has been following where my curiosity takes me. While looking up national dishes for one country, recipes from neighboring countries will often pop up. Or in the case of jollof rice, some websites use the very broad brush of ‘West Africa’, a term which covers 15 countries and almost half a billion people. 

The history of jollof dates back to the 14th century in the Wolof Empire, a kingdom which covered what is now Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritiana. The wikipedia page is much better at outlining the complicated history of this dish, and this interview from NPR gives a delightful overview into the competitive rivalry between West African nations for the title of ‘best’ jollof rice.

While there are many differing opinions, it does seem to be generally accepted that an area in northern Senegal was the birthplace of jollof rice. In my unstructured, flitting about research I put the name of the dish next to Senegal in my nerdy little Google Sheets tracker. Later in my internet travels I came across this recipe and put the link into my little spreadsheet and kept going on with my day. 

After going to Vancouver International Market to gather ingredients for this and many other recipes (it’s unlikely anyone reading this lives in SW Washington, but if you do, this market is great!), including egusi seeds for the egusi stew I plan to make for the Nigerian installment of this project.

You can probably see where this is going.

Most west African nations have their own version of jollof rice and they all feature rice, tomatoes, capsicum, scotch bonnets (I had to use habeneros as scotch bonnets aren’t readily available where I live), garlic, onions, and spices. While this provides a common thread, the kind of rice used, the preparation steps, the included meat etc all differ from country to country.

The recipe I landed on was not, as intended, Senegalese. Also known as ceebu jen/thieboudienne, Senegalese jollof traditionally contains fish and large chunks of vegetables like eggplant and sweet potato (I will be making a vegan version at a later date). Importantly it is also made with jasmine rice. 

Nigerian jollof on the other hand is made with parboiled basmati rice known as golden sella. While some other countries would cook meat with the rice, Nigerian jollof seems to pair the rice with a meat dish instead (although I am obviously the furthest from an expert on this, so I’m sure there are Nigerian recipes which include meat as part of the cooking). And there aren’t any big chunks of veggies. 

This is a very long-winded way of saying that I had intended to make Senegalese jollof rice, ended up making Nigerian jollof rice, and now will be making a sub-series in this blog of all the different jollof recipes, because this recipe was freaking delicious and now I’m very curious about how they all differ. Also, Nigeria will end up with two recipes this year because try as I may I cannot find any other recipes which use egusi seeds, and I’m personally really excited to try egusi stew.

In terms of the recipe itself, it was time, but not labour, intensive and took close to three hours from start to finish (although much of that time is fairly hands off – not ‘leave the house and go for a walk’ kind of hands off, but you can go do other things while different elements are roasting or reducing or steaming). It was devine! Incredibly flavourful, with just the right amount of spice for me, although if you are sensitive to heat it would probably be quite hot. I found a ripe plantain at our local supermarket, so I fried that up to serve alongside, and made a simple coleslaw which is a common side dish for jollof in Nigeria. We loved it so much we ate it the next day for breakfast, with a runny fried egg on top (Note: while I’m making these recipes vegan, I am not vegan and do eat eggs). 

If you made it this far, I’m sorry? It felt important to call out my own ignorance and highlight the importance of doing thorough research for each recipe. I’m also sure some of the information above is not quite accurate or could use clarification, so I expect to make edits as I learn more from researching other countries’ versions. I plan on these blogs being a bit less lengthy in future – no one wants to read this much – but while I’m finding my feet (and discovering what I don’t yet know) there might be a bit more of the sausage making in these missives. 

Zucchini slice and too many zucchinis

A twist on an Aussie classic.

Listening: Armchair Expert – Experts on Expert – Peggy Orenstein

I don’t want to read your ramblings, I just want the recipe: Jump to the recipe

Star Rating: Four stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I re-started deliveries from Imperfect Produce this year, and I like that it challenges me to find some different recipes outside of what I’d normally make. I love trying new recipes but I’m also often lazy, and when there’s a bunch of tasty stuff I know how to make with my eyes closed, I fall back on my go-tos when I’m feeling tired or too busy or just lacking in imagination.

This week’s deliver had both zucchinis and summer squash and while I’ll make some into zoodles and probably roast some cut into chunks, there were way too many to use before they go off.

Enter the humble zucchini slice. This is an Australian favourite – I should try to delve into where our obsession came from, but I remember working at Yahoo!7 in the late 2000’s and zucchini slice was the #1 recipe for SEO at the time. The Aussie version includes bacon and cheese, so I tried to make a different version that was still delicious but didn’t depend on these ingredients for flavour. I almost managed it, but I’d make some changes next time (mostly salt related).

Also, I’ve reintroduced eggs into my diet. I have no trouble not eating dairy. Not eating meat has been easier than expected. But eggs – man. My friend, Anthea, exclaimed “But eggs?” when I told her I had become vegan, and we waxed lyrical about how wonderful eggs are. I did a bunch of research, and there is a brand called Misty Meadows Farms  which are pasture raised, organic, and cruelty free and come from just outside Seattle. I’m happy to pay a little extra to get them, and this has also made me much more mindful of my consumption.

So the recipe. Really, I made this up by combining the general base of a zucchini slice and stealing some of the ideas from Ottolenghi’s cauliflower cake. I used nutritional yeast to try to give it more of a cheesy flavour, and added a lot of garlic powder and paprika too. I still needed to use much more salt, and I’m sad I hadn’t thought about lining the pan with a mixture of black and white sesame seeds à la Ottolenghi. Regardless, it’s a good base and the addition of fresh herbs mixed through and perhaps something a little crunchy like pepitas on top would elevate this even more.



Half a head of cauliflower, cut into florets

Half a head of broccoli, cut into florets

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

2 x medium zucchinis (or summer squash), grated

Half an onion, roughly diced

1/2 cup chickpea flour (60g)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (20g)

6 large eggs

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste (you’ll want to add more salt that you think)


Fresh herbs – whatever you have to hand

Black and white sesame seeds to line the pan

Pepitas, friend onions, Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning


  1. Preheat oven to 360F/180C
  2. Boil a large pot of water
  3. Add cauliflower to boiling water and set timer for 8 minutes
  4. After 3 minutes add broccoli to boiling water
  5. When timer goes off, immediately drain cauliflower and broccoli into a colander and rinse with cold water. Fill the pot you just used for boiling with cold water and add cauliflower and broccoli to cool down further. You will need to make sure that the pot isn’t still hot so might need to rinse a couple of times.
  6. Meanwhile grate your zucchinis into a large bowl.
  7. Dice onion and add to bowl.
  8. Add chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper; mix together.
  9. Crack eggs into separate bowl and whisk to combine.
  10. Drain broccoli and cauliflower, add to large bowl. If you’re adding herbs, add them now.
  11. Add eggs to large bowl with another generous grind of salt and gently stir to combine so mixture is evenly combined, but don’t over mix and break up vegetables.
  12. Grease a shallow dish (I used a 15cm x 30cm glass dish) with olive oil. If you’re using sesame seeds, now sprinkle across surface of dish. Try to distribute evenly, but don’t worry if there are some denser pockets.
  13. Pour mixture into dish and smooth out so it’s spread evenly.
  14. Place in oven. Check after 30 minutes and if it’s not quite done, leave in for another 5-10 minutes. Slice is done when I knife comes out clean.
  15. Let cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve by itself or with salad or any other side. Goes really well with hot sauce.

Note: Freezes well and is good to have on hand when you’re in a rush. Defrost on counter and heat in microwave or oven, depending on how much time you have.

Crack Brownies and Showing Love Through Fat and Sugar

Soundtrack: Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ on Audible

I don’t want to read your ramblings, I just want the recipe: Salted Caramel Crack Brownies by Anna Jones

Star Rating: FIVE FUCK YEAH STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you want to make people feel simultaneous happy and special, and if you are also interested in being showered with love in return, then this recipe is for you. You can also make these brownies lactose-, gluten- and nut-free and they still taste incredible, meaning you can cater to various intolerances without compromising on the final product.

This is another Anna Jones recipe, and I cannot sing her praises enough. Her vegetarian cook books (‘A Modern Way to Cook‘ and ‘A Modern Way to Eat‘) over-deliver on taste and inventiveness while still being approachable and easy to make.

The reason I first made these brownies was Anna’s own intro to the recipe “Find me someone who doesn’t like these and I’ll deliver you a batch myself.” I have made these probably about 20-30 times and have never had any left over, and in one case someone swiped a whole bunch of them when I took them into work which, while annoying, is definitely high praise.

There is only one tricky bit to these and it’s the only part of the method that I don’t agree with. The caramel for these brownies takes much longer to make than the recipe would suggest, and it took me many attempts before I realised that I had to let the caramel bubble for an additional ~5-10 minutes so that it would set properly.

Also, there is a point during the caramel making process where you add the milk (or milk substitute) to the melted sugar and butter and the cool milk shocks the molten hot sugar and fat combination into a petrified candy ball. DON’T FREAK OUT. The recipe seems to suggest that you just need to put the saucepan back on the stove and in a few minutes it will be thick caramel. Instead, I always have to spend a lot of time beating that ball into submission while the milk warms up (but doesn’t boil) around it. I’ve tried using warm milk and this does help a little, but simply put the temperature at which sugar melts will always be higher than the temperature of the milk added.

Finally – make sure you use BAKING PAPER and never waxed paper to line the shallow tray you’re going to pour the caramel in. I have made this mistake so many times that I threw out my waxed paper (which I can’t recall ever having an actual use for, so I’m guess I bought in error in the first place).

Making the brownie batter is really straight forward and adding the caramel to the brownies is too. It’s also important that you line the pan they’re baking in because these are some sticky brownies.

The recipe says to cook them for 25 minutes, but I always check at 20. The caramel will have turned into molten pools of deliciousness, which can make it difficult to check whether the brownie mixture is cooked underneath. My preference is a consistency that’s like a dense fudge in the middle, with a little crunch around the edges. They will continue to cook when you take them out of the oven so I err on undercooking and they have always turned out great.

And that’s it! Once they’ve cooled they won’t last very long. They are appropriate for all occasions including (but not limited to): Holiday Parties, Break-up Commiserations, ‘Just because’ for your co-workers, Birthdays, Dinner Parties, New Babies… Really for anyone who likes things that taste nice and who you want to make the world a slightly brighter place for a moment.


Chickpea Pancakes and Dreams Come True

Soundtrack: Spotify’s #ThrowbackThursday Playlist

I don’t want to read your ramblings, I just want to make the recipe: Jumbo Chickpea Pancake from Oh She Glows


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

Guys. GUYS. You have to make this as soon as you can – I’ve even created a new category for my blog called ‘Make this immediately’ because of how passionately I feel about it. I vaguely followed this recipe from Oh She Glows but honestly, the only real rule you have to stick to is using equal parts chickpea flour to water. For one serving I used ½ C of each and it was a good size for breakfast.

But let’s take a step back and to see how we arrived here. While there are very few foods that I don’t like, I am surprisingly picky about breakfast. I’m vehemently opposed to sweet breakfasts – initially they make me feel sick, then about an hour later I’m hungry again. Cereal makes absolutely no sense – why would you put something crunchy into something wet? Jam should only be served with scones. Pancakes are dessert. But I digress…

Most mornings I have two pieces of toast (Ezekiel bread because it’s got loads of grains in it, and is about the only bread I can find in the US that’s not full of sugar). One piece has a soft-boiled egg with hot sauce, the other has ¼ of an avocado and some salt and pepper. It’s tasty, has enough bulk to keep me full until lunch (most of the time), and is healthy. But who wants to eat the same thing for breakfast every morning? I’ve been on the look out for savoury alternatives for a while now, and have tried out breakfast rice bowls, zucchini slice, and asparagus and goats cheese frittata. They were all delicious, but they need to be made in bulk and require a bit of time and forward planning.

The beauty of this recipe is that there is almost negligible preparation time, you can make it in a single serving, and use whichever vegetables you have to hand. I used thinly sliced onions which I sautéed in the same pan I then used to cook the pancake, eliminating any extra clean up (WIN!). I also had some coriander and basil hanging about, so these were thrown in too.

Basically, dump ½ C of chickpea flour into a bowl, ¼ t of garlic powder, a shake of chilli powder, ¼ t of baking powder (for lift!), some salt and pepper, and add ½ C of water, then whisk until there are no lumps. Add your choice of vegetables and mix until evenly combined.

Heat a pan over medium heat and spray with oil. When warm, pour the batter into the middle and spread out evenly. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes until it’s semi-set in the middle and you can flip without it folding or breaking. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the middle is cooked through. Serve topped with avocado, hummus, tomatoes, hot sauce, an egg, cheese, or whatever you fancy.


I will be making this again for breakfast tomorrow, and am a little sad I’m away this weekend because I’ll have to wait until Monday to have it again. It’s that good.

NOTE: It’s also vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, high protein AND delicious. This is the dream, people.