IS JOLLOF THE KING OF ALL RICE DISHES?
A lot of friendships have been tested in the battle of supremacy for which countries Jollof reigns KING. I recall some of my close friends being temporarily banished from passing the blunt because of it. Jollof is usually the intro for most people when trying African food for the first time. It is an adaption of rice and stew; which also happens to be a staple in most cultures. Ghana and Nigeria have also been at war when it comes to who makes it better. Living in the 6 is great because we have tons of restaurants that offer this beautiful dish. Being from Ghana, “mans” are automatically going to think it’s a Ghana ting from here on out. I wish this could be true. To be honest, it just depends on what day it is and how much of a particular type of rice I’ve consumed in that day. Deep? Yes because I am a rice man.
Ghanian Jollof is made by cooking Jasmine rice in a rich tomato stew (made with a Sofrito base), that can be prepared with either chicken or beef. Some variations of the dish are hella spicy on the Scoville scale. Nigerian Jollof is made the same way, but with parboiled rice. From the quick look of things, one would say that Jasmine rice is the better of the varieties because of the reverence some cultures have given it. Parboiled rice is super underrated and resilient to lousy cooking techniques. It’s hard to fuck up cooking parboiled rice and fixing a horrible version can be as easy as adding more water. Not the same with Jasmine rice. This variety loves steam and lots of it! Most people opt for cooking it in a rice cooker because it offers more control. So, are Nigerians taking the easy way out using parboiled rice? We will have to find out. If you are a Jollof connoisseur and want to avoid the trouble running into bad Jollof in our city, please use my guide for navigation. I’ve listed my top 5 restaurants that have the best Jollof in our town. They are not in order. This is just a collective. I judge them all on 1. Taste 2. Spice level 3. The texture of rice. I also speak about other things I noticed when eating.
849 Albion Road
Toronto, ON M9V 1H2
This restaurant offers Ghanaian Jollof and its super al dente. Their stew is lit, and I often ask for a side order of stew to with my order. The rice is not that spicy on the Scoville scale.
Spice level 7/10
2. DE PLACE
2400 Finch Ave W #1, North York, ON M9M 2E2
This place offers Nigerian Jollof. Their rice is pretty spicy for heat seekers. This place honestly changed my opinion on the use of parboiled rice for Jollof. They pack a lot of flavour into theirs. They serve it with your choice of turkey- which I found to be slightly tough (may need to be braised a bit longer before frying). They don’t sell stew on the side which broke my heart.
2708 Jane St, North York, ON M3L 1S4
This place offers Nigerian Jollof and it’s super rich in taste. It comes al dente, so the rice grains are not sticking together. It also is not spicy, but goes well with the Ghanian “Shito” pepper that they sell on the side. They also sell Chofi (Fried Turkey Butt) and Suya (grilled spiced goat) to go with your order. This is a Nigerian delicacy is a crowd pleaser.
Overall Taste 8/10
Spice (Pèpè) 7/10
4. Golden Gate Restaurant
2428 Islington Ave, Etobicoke, ON M9W3X8
This joint specializes in Ghanian Jollof. Their rice is al dente and has lots of flavour. The spice level on the Scoville scale is medium. Not really a fan of the options it comes with (Beef and fried fish). Where is the chicken option?
Spice (Pèpè) 7/10
5. Golden Stool Restaurant
21 Nelson St West, Brampton, ON L6X 1B6
This restaurant has award-winning Ghanian Jollof rice. I usually get mine with their jerk of fried chicken. It’s the bomb! I like the variety they bring to the game. The Jollof is very unforgettable and is al dente (just how I like it)! The spice level is medium.
Spice (Pèpè) 7.5
QUICK & FOOL PROOF JOLOFF RICE
(Makes 12 servings)
• 450g of fresh plum tomatoes
• 150g of tomato paste
• 1 seeded Habanero chilli
• 100g peeled and chopped ginger
• 3 chopped garlic cloves
• 200g chopped onion
• 100g chopped carrots
• 1/2 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon dry chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
• 2 shrimp stock cubes or chicken stock cubes (20g), optional
• 3/4 cup preferred oil
• 3 bay leaves
• 6 cups of Jasmine rice
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• Sea salt to taste
• 1 tablespoon Maggie liquid seasoning, optional
Method for Sauce
1. Add ingredients 1-12 food processor and blitz until smooth.
2. Place saucepan on medium heat and add oil.
3. Add blended mixture to hot oil and fry for 20-25 minutes with the lid on to prevent mixing from spitting all over your kitchen. Stir evenly every 2 min until water has evaporated from the mixture and it begins to thicken. Cover with the lid after every stir. The oil will have changed to red colour by this time and sauce will have a thick consistency and oil will separate from the mixture.
4. Add 700 ml of water, bring to a boil and then reduce to medium-low and let simmer with the lid half off for 15-18 mins. Water will evaporate after about 15. At this point cover pot with parchment paper and the lid and turn heat to low and let it cook for another 10 mins. Remove from heat and let it sit for another 15 min before stirring. Serve warm with your choice of side.