I find it interesting that basmati used to prepare jollof rice can be so controversial. I had my first encounter in 2013 and I have not looked at long grain rice again. The best type for jollof rice is golden sella basmati rice. Basically it’s rice that has been parboiled while still in its husk and then milled. It is called golden because it turns pale yellow after the parboiling process.
Growing up in Nigeria, we would always parboil our rice before cooking it in the tomato sauce. With the golden sella basmati rice, I soak my rice in hot water then rinse off any excess starch. Washing off excess starch will help my rice grains to be single when cooked and not clumpy.
So enjoy my tested and approved basmati jollof rice recipe below.
◦ 470g golden sella basmati rice
◦ 7 medium fresh tomatoes
◦ 2 bell peppers (tatashe)
◦ 3tbs tomato paste
◦ 1 scotch bonnet pepper
◦ 1 medium onion
◦ 100g vegetable oil
◦ 3 cloves of garlic
◦ 1tsp ginger
◦ 3 bay leaves
◦ 21g seasoning powder or cubes
◦ 1tsp curry powder
◦ 1tsp dried thyme
◦ 350ml stock or water
◦ Slice tomatoes, peppers and onions into 4 pieces and place on a baking tray. Drizzle olive oil and roast in preheated 200 degrees cl oven for 45 minutes. Then take out of oven and allow to cool down. When cool blend together with garlic and ginger if using fresh.
◦ Soak rice in hot water and after 10 minutes, rinse with warm water.
◦ In a large pot on high heat, pour In vegetable oil and heat up. When oil is hot add the tomato paste and fry, stirring continuously for 5 minutes, then add bay leaves, ginger (if using powder) and thyme and cook for 3 minutes.
◦ Add your blended tomatoes into the pot, which should have ( tatashe, scotch bonnet pepper, onions and garlic). Allow to cook for 5 minutes then add the curry powder, seasoning powder and salt. ( if using stock, it would be advisable to not add seasoning powder or salt till after adding the stock to avoid excess salt)
◦ Add washed rice into sauce, making sure every grain is coated. Add stock or water, give it a stir and taste to adjust seasoning. Cover pot and allow to boil, once rice starts boiling, turn down heat and cook rice in low medium-heat to steam until rice grains are soft. (Use a fitted lid to trap steam)
◦ Turn down heat and your rice is ready. Pair with fish, chicken, pork or turkey. Also salad, coleslaw and fried plantains.
If you would prefer to not blend onions with tomatoes, chop them add into oil to fry or about 3 minutes before adding tomato paste.
As I cooked my rice in very low heat it took a total of 45 mins to be soft, yet still single and not soggy.