Under less pressure and just for the sheer pleasure of it, I decided to try once again at making oven baked jollof rice. Pottering around the kitchen after a rather lazy Saturday, listening to Norman Jay on Radio 2, was just magic. I sometimes wonder if the mood you are in affects the food. I was in a very good mood and the rice came out very nice. I give Jemimah Adebiyi all the credit!
3 cups rice
Half a can of plum tomatoes/ 3 medium tomatoes
90 grams tomato paste
2 cooking spoons vegetable oil
2 big onions
2 big red bell pepper
1 scotch bonnet
2 bay leaves
1 cup Meat or chicken stock/water
2 Knorr cubes
1/2 teaspoon your preferred seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Curry powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste
First parboil the rice, parboiling should be half the time you would normally if you were parboiling for a full hob recipe. Ensure the rice is still firm when you drain the water, 5 minutes on medium heat should do. Drain and set aside.
Blend half the can of plum tomatoes, two bell peppers, 1 scotch bonnet, 1 tablespoon minced ginger and an onion, blend till smooth and set aside.
In a large pot, add 1 cooking spoon vegetable oil, set on a hob on medium heat, when it’s hot enough, add half a bulb of sliced onions, sauté for 2 minutes then add the blended pepper, 2 Knorr chicken cubes, the white pepper, curry, thyme and salt to taste.
Let that fry on medium heat for 15 minutes thereabouts, stir at intervals to prevent burning.
While that’s frying, get a smaller pan, add 3 tablespoon oil, when it’s hot, add some sliced onions and sauté till fragrant.
Now, add the tomato purée. Let this fry for 5-6 minutes or until the purée loses its sourness.
Now, check on the stew, check to see if it’s fried (you’ll know it is properly fried when the oil begins to settle on top)
If its is fried, add the stock, if you haven’t got any, that’s OK, just add a bit of water instead, you can also add your own preferred spices ( I’m a sucker for Aromat seasoning).
Tip: Be careful when you’re adding condiments if you’re going to be using meat or chicken stock as stock would already contain a high amount of salt.
Let this cook for a further 3-5 minutes, then add the fried tomato purée along with the oil…
Stir to combine, let this stew for 3 minutes…Now, transfer the parboiled rice to the stew, do this gradually so you can control the quantities, this way you won’t end up with a soggy mix. Mix thoroughly, the rice and stew should be fully combined, all grains coated with no secreted stew or oil. Now, add two bay leaves
Transfer the contents into a foil pan or roasting dish
Cover with foil paper, double it up as the rice needs adequate steam to cook evenly and fast. This goes into a preheated oven, 200 degrees thereabouts.
After about 30 minutes, check on the rice, the stew should have dried up significantly
Add some more sliced onions and tomato. Stir and combine.
Toss it back in the oven and allow to cook to proper doneness, this should take another 15-20 minutes