Jollof Rice and Beans

I first had this chili-like dish at a potluck hosted by my friend Melissa, who is giving the vegan diet a try. She bought a vegan cookbook of recipes from around the world (the name of which I don’t remember at this point and I cant ask Melissa as she in Costa Rica), and made this for all of us to try. I thought it was pretty good, so I copied the recipe and decided to make it myself.

Having never had Jollof Rice before Melissa’s potluck, I decided to look it up. Apparently it’s also known as “benachin” which means “one pot” in the Wolof language (which is spoken in Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania). And yes, I only used one pot to make it. It’s a popular West African dish with these main ingredients: rice, onion, salt, tomatoes, tomato paste, spices and chili pepper.

If there is onion-chopping involved in a recipe, I will probably enjoy it. Or, I will at least enjoy that part of the prep. It’s silly, and I’m not sure why, but I love chopping onions. Bell peppers, on the other hand, not so much. I don’t hate chopping them, but they’re nowhere near as fun as onions.

So I love chopping onions, but I also love throwing them in a pot with some oil (along with peppers and garlic, in this recipe) and hearing it all sizzle. Adding cayenne made it more aromatic. Now, the recipe recommends ½ teaspoon cayenne, but says to increase or decrease the amount to taste. I ended up using a little less than half of a teaspoon. The dish ended up with a nice kick that wasn’t overpowering.

My version was a bit spicier than Melissa’s which is I’m sure because of the cayenne. Instead of cayenne Melissa used chili powder. Chili powder is actually a blend of powdered chilis and other spices: cumin, oregano, garlic and salt, sometimes with nutmeg and cinnamon (see, like I said, cinnamon should go in everything). I like all those other spices, and I think it helped make the dish saltier- my attempt definitely needed some salt and I did not feel that way about Melissa’s.

This is the "and beans" part... kidney beans.

Final product

I had a lot left over, so I was able to package it up and save it for future dinners. Mmm.

I don’t want to post the recipe until I can tell you where it’s coming from (I want to give credit where it is due), so I’ll edit the entry with it when I get the cookbook title from Melissa.

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One Response to Jollof Rice and Beans

  1. Belle says:

    It looks great! I’m glad you gave it a try. Jollof rice is very popular in west Africa and in fact the jury is still out on which country actually invented the dish. Many sources say the word ‘Jollof’ comes from a mispronounciation of ‘Wolof’ – the Senegalese language. This would mean it came from Senegal. Either way is delicious, nutritious and filling when done right. One thing: it is not traditionally cooked with beans. Otherwise, it seems you were on point. If you’d like to find out more about West African cuisine, contact me or visit my blog at thatchroom.com. Cheers.

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